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Set up and elcctrotyped. Published March, 1916. 

Natisooti 9r<0i 

J. 8. Gushing C5o. — Berwick &, Smith Oo. 

Norwood, Mass., U.8.A. 


When the writer of these pages first began to study the fili- 
bustering activities of William Walker and his associates, he 
did so with no intention of producing a book. As he con- 
tinued his investigations, however, he became convinced that 
this subject deserved more attention from the historian than 
it had yet received, and he therefore determined to write the 
full story of those filibustering movements which are so closely 
interwoven with the life of William Walker, and at the same 
time to give the events thus narrated their proper setting in 
the whole field of American history. 

The accounts of Walker's various enterprises appearing in 
general works on American history are always meagre, and 
in many cases are actually misleading. The usual explanations 
of his motives are much too simple. The forces underlying 
filibusterism were in fact exceedingly varied and complex, and 
to describe them requires the telling of a long but interesting 
story. The part played in Walker's career and in Central 
American politics by American financiers and captains of in- 
dustry ; the designs of Walker upon Cuba ; his utter repudia- 
tion of the annexation of his conquests to the United States ; 
the appeals of Central American governments to the leading 
European powers for deliverance from the filibusters ; the 
thinly veiled machinations of Great Britain, Spain, and France 
against the American adventurers — these are some of the facts, 
hitherto overlooked or ignored, which it is here sought to set 
forth in their true light. Some of the results of this investi- 
gation have already appeared in print. (See the Ameriean 
Historical Revieiv for July, 1905, and the Mississippi Valley 
Historical Review for September, 1914.) 


In making acknowledgment to those who have assisted him 
in the preparation of this work the author feels that he is 
indebted most of all to two of his former instructors, Professor 
George Petrie, of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, and Pro- 
fessor Albert Bushnell Hart, of Harvard University. Professor 
Petrie first aroused his interest in the filibustering movement 
and directed his earliest investigations, and Professor Hart 
trained and aided him in his further research. Professor 
Andrew C. McLaughlin, while Director of the Bureau of His- 
torical Research of the Carnegie Institution, aided him very 
materially in the investigation of manuscript sources in the 
archives of the State and Navy departments at Washington. 
Others who have been of much assistance in giving advice or 
furnishing materials are Professor St. George L. Sioussat, of 
Vanderbilt University ; Lieutenant Campbell B. Hodges, of the 
United States Army ; and Mr. Antonio Guell, of the Louisiana 
State University, a nephew of two of Walker's greatest oppo- 
nents. President Mora and General Cafias of Costa Rica. To 
General John McGrath, of Baton Rouge, La., a veteran of 
Walker's first Nicaraguan expedition, the author is indebted 
for the courtesy of a number of pleasant interviews, which 
have given him a clearer insight into the motives and aspira- 
tions of the adventurers in Central America. He is also 
greatly obligated to Mr. Robert Lusk, of Nashville, Tenn., 
for the loan of a scrapbook compiled by Major John P. Heiss, 
one of Walker's friends and supporters. The author also 
desires to return acknowledgment of the many courtesies ex- 
tended to him by officials in charge of the archives of the State 
and Navy departments and by the staff in the reading room 
of the Library of Congress. To his colleagues. Professors 
Walter L. Fleming and Milledge L. Bonham, Jr., who have 
kindly read the manuscript and offered many valuable criti- 
cisms, he feels especially indebted. 



I. Why Men Went A-Filibustering 

11. The Early Life of William Walker 

III. Walker's Forerunners .... 

IV. The Raid on Lower California 
V. The Filibusters before the Courts 

VI. Walker as a California Politician 

VII. The Increasing Importance of Nicaragua 

VIII. The Sailing of "The Immortals" . 

IX. The Mosquito Kingdom and Colonel Kinney 

X. The American Phalanx 

XL The Capture of Granada . 

XII. Filibusters and Financiers 

XIIL Filibuster Diplomacy and Politics 

XIV. Costa Rica Wars on Walker . 

XV. Walker Becomes President 

XVI. The Filibuster Army and Navy 

XVII. " Here was Granada " 

XVIII. The Vengeance of Vanderbilt 

XIX. In the Last Ditch 

XX. More Filibustering Mishaps 

XXI. The Walker-Paulding Imbroglio 

XXII. Transit Troubles 

XXIII. The Finale of Filibustering . 



























Operations of French and American Filibusters in Sonora 38 
Present Appearance of Greytown Harbour .... 76 
Walker's Theatre of Operations in Nicaragua . . . 110 


Why Men Went A-Filibustering 

There is a proverb current among Frenchmen to the effect that 
" the appetite comes with eating," and in the case of the land hunger 
of the American people the truth of this assertion seems well 
established. As soon as they set foot on American soil the colo- 
nists from Europe were compelled to wrest their lands from 
the savages, many of whom resisted the invaders to the death. 
Nature as well as the natives had to be subdued. Road and field 
were cleared with axe and spade; pioneers built their log cabins 
far in the wilderness, and, like the advance guard of a marching 
army, kept always ahead of the main body of westward-moving 
settlers. There was no arrest of this westward progress till the 
pioneer stood on the shores of the Pacific. In 1803 the boundary 
was moved from the Mississippi to the Rockies, and the next 
generation saw it extended from the Rockies to the sea. A whole 
continent had been won, but the land hunger seemed keener than 
ever. The appetite had increased with the eating. 

Now that the red man was a negligible factor, and the mysteries 
of the great interior of the continent had been revealed, adventu- 
rous men began to look beyond the borders of the United States for 
the activities their natures seemed to demand. Natural selection 
had operated to produce a distinctive type of American, whose 
whole philosophy of conduct may be summed up in the phrase 
B 1 


" go ahead." One of the leading exponents of this idea had indeed 
prefaced the injunction to go ahead with a monition that one should 
first be sure that he was right, but to the average American in the 
first half of the nineteenth century such cautioning was entu-ely 
superfluous. He was always sure that he was right. This belief of 
the Americans in their ow n excellence was one of the things which 
most impressed and puzzled the foreign visitor. Success in the 
struggle for existence in the New World had produced unbounded 
egotism and self-confidence. Every vigorous boy passes through 
such a stage as he approaches adolescence. To other members 
of his family and to his neighbours he seems something of a bully. 
In this period other nations entertained a similar opinion of Young 
America. All the world regarded this country as a braggart and 
a bully, and the estimate was not entirely unjust. It is consoling, 
however, to record that our faults, numerous as they were, were 
symptoms of youth and superabundant health rather than signs 
of senile degeneracy. 

Under such conditions it was natural that Americans should 
believe that their great republic was eventually to dominate both 
continents of the Western Hemisphere, and to such an idea they 
applied the very expressive term "manifest destiny." To them 
it was inconceivable that the rapid growth of past decades should 
not continue. There was no reason why it should terminate 
with the acquisition of California, when to the southward there 
lay the fairest portions of the earth cumbered with a discordant 
and retrograding people. Was it not our duty to plant a new 
population and a new government in these lands, even as Moses 
and the Israelites of old had dispossessed the heathen Canaanites ? 
To Young America the answer was obvious. " It is the fate of 
America ever 'to go ahead,'" wrote a Californian in 1854. "She 
is like the rod of Aaron that became a serpent and swallowed up 
the other rods. So will America conquer or annex all lands. 
That is her * manifest destiny.' Only give her time for the process. 


To swallow up every few years a province as large as most kingdoms 
of Europe is her present rate of progress. Sometimes she purchases 
the mighty morsel, sometimes she forms it out of waste territory 
by the natural increase of her own people, sometimes she annexes, 
and sometimes she conquers it." This writer did not seek to de- 
fend such a policy on any grounds of abstract morality. " America 
(that is the true title of our country) secures the spoils won to her 
hand, however dishonestly they have come. That is only her 
destiny, and perhaps she is not so blamable as a nation in bearing it 
willingly. One may profit by the treason, yet hate the traitor. 
Let the distant monarch of the lands beyond the great lakes and 
the tawny people of the far South look to it. America must round 
her territories by the sea." ^ 

The phenomenon of filibustering was a natural outgrowth of such 
ideas. When Americans gathered their scant stock of goods, as- 
sembled in small bands, shouldered their guns, and set out toward 
the West or Southwest, they were not seeking solely for sordid 
wealth, but were prompted in part by a desire to move in a broader 
field, to occupy a larger stage, and have a better opportunity to 
" go ahead." They were filled with the idea of the bigness of their 
country, and desired to act on a scale commensurate with its 
greatness. Some of their ideas and manners impress us to-day 
as being wonderfully exaggerated. Even their humour was mainly 
a form of grotesque exaggeration. This type of American was 
an unsocialized product, but his lack of social ideals was offset 
by an aggressive individualism, which in this period yielded in- 
creasing returns. If such men chanced to direct their energies 
toward the American wilderness, they were called pioneers. If, 
on the other hand, they happened to direct their attention toward 
another nation, whose sovereignty was formally recognized by their 
own, they were called filibusters. 

The term " filibuster " was originally one of opprobrium, and its 

' Soul6, Gihon, and Nisbet, Annals of San Francisco, 476. (New York, 1855.) 


use in the fifties was much resented by those to whom it was ap- 
plied, inasmuch as it was regarded as synonymous with pirate or 
buccaneer. In this volume the word is used in no such offensive 
sense, but is employed to designate those adventurers who, during 
the decade preceding the Civil War, were engaged in fitting out 
and conducting under private initiative armed expeditions from the 
United States against other nations with which this country was 
at peace. Whether the persons engaged in such activities were 
pirates or patriots, they shall be designated here as filibusters, 
and the use of this term implies per se neither condemnation nor 

In its final analysis filibustering may be described, in the phrase- 
ology of Herbert Spencer, as a process of equilibration of energy. 
Whenever a superior or more energetic people are brought into 
contact with an inferior or less energetic group, a process of equili- 
bration between the two groups necessarily occurs. This equili- 
brative movement is always some kind of conflict, and in its prim- 
itive aspect we call it the struggle for existence. This conflict 
may assume many forms, varying from the complete annihilation 
to the "benevolent assimilation" of the weak by the strong. 
Viewed in this broad way, filibustering is but a part of that move- 
ment common to all periods of history, wherein we see human 
hordes, prompted by wanderlust, land hunger, pressure of popu- 
lation, religious zeal, or what not, move out from their ancestral 
dominions and despoil some weaker peoples of their fields and flocks 
and homes. When the nomadic barbarian dispossessed the savage 
huntsman and converted his hunting ground into a cattle range, 
he was the predecessor of the modern filibuster. And the Angles, 
Saxons, and Jutes, who left their gloomy northern peninsula for 
Britain's sunnier clime and made their name for Briton a synonym 

» Et3anologically, the word filibuster is a variant of freebooter (Dutch vrijbuiter), 
and was first widely used to designate the pirates who plundered the Spanish 
colonies of the West Indies in the seventeenth century. Hence originally filibuster 
= freebooter = free + booty = a plunderer. 


for slave, were they not true filibusters? And were not the de- 
scendants of these freebooters themselves the victims of another 
filibustering raid led by Duke William of Normandy, who was 
also of filibustering antecedents ? From the point of view of the 
American aborigine even the Pilgrims and Puritans were filibusters. 

The American people in 1850 possessed superabundant energy. 
They had conquered a continent, and they sighed for other lands 
to conquer. The "splendid isolation'' in which they had been 
reared had failed to produce that sense of international obligations 
which undoubtedly would have developed if they had been near 
neighbours of other strong peoples ; and for half a century they had 
been taking the lands next to theirs in whatever way seemed most 
convenient. Louisiana they bought; West Florida and Texas 
they got mainly by filibustering ; and California they got by con- 
quest. The moral distinction between public and private pillage 
of the territory of a weaker nation was but vaguely drawn. All 
that was required of the filibuster was success. If he succeeded, 
he was a hero and a patriot ; if he failed, he was a reprobate. It is 
rather doubtful if we have advanced very far from this idea even in 
the twentieth century. A close relation always exists between our 
ideas of international morality and our material interests. 

Following the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo American expan- 
sionists found the prospects remote for further land-grabbing by 
governmental activity. Already the British government had 
refused to be impressed by the bluster of "fifty-four forty or 
fight," and had compelled an avowedly expansionist administra- 
tion to compromise its territorial claims in the Northwest. It 
was known too that Great Britain was jealously watching for any 
suspicious movement of the United States in the Caribbean, and 
had already taken steps to forestall us in that region. But even 
if the American government were temporarily impotent, the ex- 
pansionists were as active as ever. Private initiative would find 
a way where President and cabinet were helpless. The United 


States, therefore, in 1850 was a fertile field for filibusterism, and a 
contemporary French observer declared this to be almost a national 
institution of the American people.^ 

These filibustering propensities were somewhat stronger in the 
Southern States than in other parts of the Union. Southern civili- 
zation, as is well known, was more militant than that of the North. 
The slavery regime made it so. Southern men also clung more 
tenaciously .than their Northern brethren to the traditions and 
customs of their forefathers ; the ideals of an earlier age still pre- 
vailed. Men still resorted to the code duello in the defence of 
their honour and the honour of their women. Others might 
laugh at their ideals of chivalry, but they accepted them in all 
sincerity. Prosaic industrialism had not yet invaded this region, 
and its youth looked upon life from a more romantic point of 
view than is possible in these days of factories and skyscrapers. 
It is not to be inferred, however, that the typical young Southerner 
was a convivial cavalier or a troubadour twanging his guitar and 
writing sentimental verses to his lady. Southern life has always 
been marked by a large amount of Puritanical austerity, and such 
austerity is by no means incompatible with militancy, as witnesseth 
Oliver Cromwell or Stonewall Jackson. 

It was natural, then, that many of the foremost filibusters, such 
as Quitman, Walker, and Crabb, should be Southern men, and 
that their activities and aspirations should evoke strong sympathy 
in the South. But there was still another reason for the Southern 
attitude toward filibustering. It was the desire for the further ex- 
pansion of slave territory. The men who actually joined the fili- 
bustering expeditions were by no means the zealous apostles of 
slavery propagandism that some writers have depicted, but many 
of their abettors were men of that type. The wastefulness of 
the slavery system necessitated the constant accession of virgin 

> "II y eat presque une institutioa nationale." Auguste Nicaise, Lea Flibuatieru 
Amiricaina, 32. (Paris, 1860.) 


lands. Without these the " peculiar institution " would be doomed, 
and the South would be compelled to undergo a social and indus- 
trial revolution the outcome of which no one coqld foresee. This 
problem also had its political phases. By common consent Con- 
gress had followed the practice of admitting new States in pairs, 
one slave and the other free, with the object of preserving the bal- 
ance of power in the Senate between the two sections of the 
Union. It had become evident, however, that without further 
expansion southward the equilibrium of the Union would eventu- 
ally be destroyed, as the South was being outstripped in popula- 
tion by the rapidly growing North. Without this carefully main- 
tained balance between the free and slave States the dissolution of 
the Union seemed to many Southern leaders inevitable. Such an 
idea played a part in the acquisition of Texas, and was most prob- 
ably responsible for the provision, in the joint resolution admitting 
that State, that its territory might be subdivided into not more 
than four additional States. 

The gaining of Texas by the South was somewhat offset by the 
results of the Mexican War, which had proven to be to the advan- 
tage of the North, and had failed to restore the equilibrium between 
the sections. Covetous eyes, therefore, were cast southward to- 
wards Cuba, Mexico, and Central America. 

Some historians have regarded this desire for slavery extension 
as the fundamental motive actuating all American filibusters ; but, 
as subsequent chapters will reveal, the real explanation of the 
activities of these men is by no means such a simple one. When 
William Walker, for instance, had among his ranking officers men 
like Charles Frederick Henningsen, the European soldier of for- 
tune, Domingo de Goicouria, the Cuban "liberator," Bruno 
von Natzmer, a Prussian cavalry officer, Frank Anderson, of 
New York, and Charles W. Doubleday, of Ohio ; when he was 
induced to go to Nicaragua by Byron Cole, a New Englander ; 
and when his enterprise was first chronicled and he himself greatly 


lauded by another New Englander, William V. Wells, a grandson 
of Samuel Adams, it was evident that such an undertaking appealed 
to many besides the slavery propagandists. The filibustering 
spirit was in the air, and the daring enterprises seemed to enlist 
the sympathies in nearly equal degree of California pioneers, Texas 
plainsmen, political exiles from Europe, Southern slavery advo- 
cates, and Northern devotees of manifest destiny. A goodly 
portion of Walker's recruits were drawn from human derelicts of 
all sorts and conditions in New York, San Francisco, and New 
Orleans, the ports whence steamers voyaged to the coveted goal 
of the filibusters. 

It is the purpose of this work to show that the raids on Latin 
America between 1850 and 1860 were not mere accidents, but are 
vital facts of history, symptomatic in a high degree of the American 
spirit of that decade. Indeed, they were as irrepressible as the con- 
flict which came in 1861, and which in its outcome so altered the 
character of American society as to reduce filibustering to the 
status of a lost art. 

The story of these ventures naturally centres in the career of 
William Walker, rightly designated as the greatest of the American 

The Early Life of William Walker 

Our knowledge of the early life of William Walker is somewhat 
fragmentary. His father, James Walker, was a Scotchman who 
settled in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1820, and was for a time en- 
gaged in mercantile business but later became president of a local 
concern known as the Commercial Insurance Company. James 
Walker married Mary Norvell of Kentucky, and from this union 
there were four children, William, Norvell, James, and Alice. 
William, the eldest, was born May 8, 1824. His two brothers 
were later to follow him to Nicaragua, without, however, adding 
additional lustre to the family name, as Norvell proved to be in- 
competent, insubordinate, and dissipated, and James succumbed 
to the cholera soon after joining his two older brothers on the 
isthmus. The sister, Alice, married a gentleman of Louisville, 
Kentucky, by the name of Richardson. 

In his boyhood days William gave no indication of being a com- 
ing soldier of fortune. Indeed, he impressed the neighbours of his 
family as being rather effeminate and firmly tied to the maternal 
apron-strings. Those who knew him well, however, did not re- 
gard him as a prig. As he grew up his mother became an invalid, 
and he usually spent his mornings by her side, reading aloud for her 
diversion and comfort. "He was very intelligent and as refined 
in his feelings as a girl," says Miss Jane H. Thomas, a friend of the 
family. "I used often to go to see his mother and always found 
him entertaining her in some way." ^ Death deprived this mother 

1 Jane H. Thomas, Old Daya in Nashville, Tennessee, 78-79. (Nashville, 1897.) 



of both the joy and the sorrow that she would have experienced 
from the vicissitudes of her son's later career. James Walker, the 
father, lived in Nashville until after the Civil War, but spent his 
last years in Louisville, where he died in 1874. 

At school, it was said, William was not a very satisfactory pupil. 
Though of bright mind and studious habits, he found the school- 
room galling to his restless nature, but in spite of this handicap 
he easily fulfilled all the requirements of both school and college, 
and in 1838, when only fourteen years of age, he was graduated 
from the University of Nashville. Most American colleges of that 
period were little more than the modern academy or high school, 
and the fact that Walker received his diploma from this institution 
at what is now the high school age might give an impression that 
he received only the equivalent of a secondary education. An 
examination of the entrance requirements and curriculum, how- 
ever, shows that the students of the University of Nashville re- 
ceived a' fairly thorough cultural and practical education. The 
subjects then required for admission comprised "the Grammar, 
including prosody, of the Greek and Latin tongues, with Mair's 
Introduction, and such other elementary books as are usually 
taught in respectable Grammar Schools ; Csesar's Commentaries, 
Virgil, Cicero's Orations, Greek Testament, and Dalzel's Collec- 
tanea GrcBca Minora, or with other Greek and Latin authors, 
equivalent to these ; and also with English Grammar, Arithmetic, 
and Geography." The studies prescribed for undergraduates 
included algebra, geometry, trigonometry, descriptive and analyti- 
cal geometry, conic sections, calculus, mensuration, surveying, 
navigation, mechanics, astronomy, chemistry, mineralogy, geology, 
experimental philosophy, natural history, Roman and Grecian 
antiquities, Greek and Latin classics, rhetoric and belles-lettres, 
history, mental and moral philosophy, logic, political economy, 
international and constitutional law, composition, criticism and 
oratory, natural theology, Christian evidences, and the Bible. 


As compared with present-day collegiate courses, the student re- 
ceived only a smattering of many of these subjects, excepting, 
perhaps, those that were strictly classical ; but there is little doubt 
that the instruction afforded Walker and his fellow-students pro- 
vided about as good a foundation for culture and civic usefulness 
as could be obtained in that day. Great emphasis was laid on 
moral training. Prayers were offered in the chapel twice a day, 
and attendance was compulsory. At the beginning of each meal 
in the dining-hall the students stood while a blessing was pro- 
nounced ; at its close they again arose and stood while thanks were 
offered. Church attendance was required, and the study of the 
Bible, natural theology, and evidences of Christianity was pre- 
scribed for Sunday. Attendance upon balls, horse-races, cock- 
fights, and theatres was forbidden, and students were denied 
the luxuries of dogs, horses, carriages, and servants. They were 
allowed "to learn music, fencing, and other accomplishments" 
not taught at the University only by written request of parent or 
guardian. Every evening, after prayers in chapel, at least two 
students were required to deliver orations, their speeches being 
made in rotation, with the Seniors producing original compositions. 
The hours of study were from sunrise to breakfast, from nine to 
twelve o'clock, from two to five, and, in the winter, from eight 
till bedtime. During these periods it was against the rules for 
the student to leave his room except to attend classes.^ 

Under such an environment, Puritanical in its austerity, was 
educated the man whom statesmen and diplomats of three conti- 
nents were later to denounce as a freebooter and pirate. His 
rearing, moreover, was different in no material respect from that 
of countless other Southern youths, and those novelists and 
literary historians who have pictured the typical young South- 
erner as bred like the seventeenth-century cavalier would do well 
to revise their references. 

* Laws of the University of Nashville, 1840. 


Walker graduated in a class of twenty, two of whom entered the 
ministry.^ Being then at the most impressionable age, he shortly 
professed religion and became a member of the Christian (Dis- 
ciples') Church. It was his parents' desire that he too should en- 
ter the ministry, a profession for which he seemed by disposition 
and character to be well adapted ; but his inclinations led him to 
the study of medicine, and in accordance with the custom of the 
times he began a course of reading in the office of a Dr. Jennings 
preparatory to entering a medical college. He next entered the 
medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1843 
received from that institution the degree of M.D. It was pecul- 
iarly appropriate that Walker, whose striking eyes were later to 
gain him the title of "the grey-eyed man of destiny," should have 
chosen "The Iris" for the subject of his graduating essay. As 
will be seen later, the resurrection of an old Indian legend in Central 
America caused the brilliant grey of his eyes to become one of 
Walker's greatest physical assets. 

Walker's parents were determined that he should enjoy every 
educational advantage, and provision was made for the comple- 
tion of his medical studies in Europe. Immediately, therefore, 
after receiving his degree from the University of Pennsylvania 
Walker went to Paris and remained a year there in the study of 
medicine. He then spent over a year visiting the interesting cities 
of Europe and gaining a fair knowledge of several of the continental 

When he returned to Nashville in 1845, he had barely attained 
his majority, and yet there were few men of his community who had 
enjoyed such opportunities for education, culture, and profes- 
sional training. One of his friends, also a later soldier of fortune, 
declared him " the most accomplished surgeon that ever visited the 
city," and this was probably no exaggeration so far as theoretical 
training was concerned. For some reason, however, the practice 

J Catalogue of Officers and Graduates of the University of Nashville, 1850. 


of medicine proved to be not to his liking, and he announced his 
intention of studying law. He began his readings in the law of- 
fice of Edwin H. Ewing, of Nashville, but his native city was not 
destined to see the display of his legal abilities, for a few months 
later he removed to New Orleans. This change of residence neces- 
sitated further study, as Louisiana did not follow the English com- 
mon law like the other American States, but maintained a legal 
system based upon the Code Napoleon. In due time he was 
admitted to the bar and displayed his shingle at 48 Canal Street. 
Here his career as an attorney was quite brief and almost brief- 
less. The natural reserve of his manner prevented his making 
many intimate friends, and any legal talent he might have had 
was unrecognized.^ Despairing of success as a lawyer, he turned 
to journalism, and in the winter of 1848 became one of the editors 
and proprietors of the New Orleans Crescent. He was associated 
in this work with J. C. Larue and W. F. Wilson. The tone of this 
journal was very conservative, and several hot-headed editors of 
Mississippi and South Carolina referred to it as a "Yankee paper." 
In its editorial columns it heaped ridicule upon the filibustering 
designs then directed against Cuba, and these articles were later 
attributed to none other than Walker. Partly because of its con- 
servatism the Crescent soon fell on hard lines, and after it was 
sold out in the autumn of 1849 Walker had to look elsewhere for 

During his sojourn in New Orleans Walker made two acquaint- 
ances that were destined to play a part in his later career. His 
legal and journalistic duties brought him into frequent contact 
with the clerk of the United States Circuit Court, a young Virgin- 
ian named Edmund Randolph, a grandson of the statesman of that 

1 The New Orleans Delta, July 27, 1856, quotes a former reporter of the Crescent, 
connected with that paper when Walker was editor, as saying that Walker was 
very silent and very kind, with the look of a man bent upon a hard course of study, 
and nearly always poring over some book. 

2 New Orleans Picayune, Dec. 22, 1853. 


name. The two became fast friends and were to meet again in 
San Francisco. There Randolph was to be the one man among 
men to whose advice Walker would lend an ear ; and, as the sequel 
showed, no one was to wield a greater influence, either for good or 
for ill, over Walker's destiny than he. The second acquaintance is 
interesting because it gives us a glimpse of the sentimental side of 
Walker's nature. There was in New Orleans a young lady by the 
name of Helen Martin for whom the doctor-lawyer-editor devel- 
oped a very warm attachment. The details of the romance are 
somewhat conflicting. According to one account, they met in 
Nashville shortly after Walker's return from Europe, and she was 
the magnet that drew the embryonic lawyer to start his legal career 
in New Orleans. Another version is that they met for the first 
time in New Orleans while Walker was still busy mastering the in- 
tricacies of the Louisiana civil law. Though well educated and of 
engaging personality, the young woman had suffered one great 
misfortune : she had been born deaf. To his many other accom- 
plishments Walker now added the sign language of deaf mutes, 
and proceeded to press his suit. One story has it that his love was 
not returned ; another, that his affection was reciprocated, but that 
a misunderstanding caused an estrangement; and still another, 
that they were happy in their love and had actually fixed the date 
for the wedding. 

It matters little which of these statements is true, for the 
outcome, so far as Walker was concerned, was the same. The city 
was scourged by one of its visitations of yellow fever, and Helen 
Martin was an early victim. This terrible disappointment was 
said by his friends to have produced a noticeable change in the 
character of Walker. His naturally serious demeanour became 
even more melancholy, but in place of the former studious habits 
there came a daring ambition and a reckless disregard of life.^ 

» Many accounts of this romance were published after Walker became famous 
in Nicaragua. See, for example, the New York Daily News, Feb. 28, 1856. 


Every adventurous spirit in 1849 heard the call of California, 
and Walker was no exception to the rule. With no further ties 
to hold him in New Orleans he joined the great caravan then 
moving westward in quest of the Golden Fleece, and in June, 1850, 
he arrived in San Francisco. Before leaving New Orleans, how- 
ever, he showed something of the fire that smouldered under a 
quiet exterior by seeking out one of the editors of La Patria, a tri- 
weekly Spanish- American paper, and giving him a severe flogging 
on account of the publication of an article at which he took personal 

In San Francisco journalism again engaged Walker's energies, 
and he became one of the editors of the Daily Herald. Within a 
few months, as a result of a controversy with the district judge, 
Levi Parsons, he found himself a popular hero. The city for some 
time had been suffering from an epidemic of crime and lawlessness, 
and the newspapers had loudly criticised the authorities for their 
failure to bring offenders to justice. Judges themselves came in 
for their share of the censure, and Judge Parsons, waxing wroth at 
the attacks upon the bench, laid the matter before the grand 
jury, taking occasion to denounce the press as a nuisance. But the 
grand jury ignored the suggestion, and the editors, emboldened by 
this evidence that public sentiment was on their side, returned to 
the attack with renewed vigour. The severest of these criticisms 
came from the pen of Walker and appeared in the Herald under 
the title "The Press a Nuisance." As a result, a few days later 
Walker was haled before Parsons' court, adjudged guilty of con- 
tempt and fined to the amount of five hundred dollars. Walker 
the lawyer was now attorney for Walker the editor ; he denied the 
judge's jurisdiction, refused to pay the fine, and went to jail. The 
whole San Francisco press immediately raised a clamour, declar- 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no, 5, p. 59 (one of a collection of scrapbooks in the Library 
of Congress, compiled by J. H. Wheeler, minister to Nicaragua while Walker was 
in that country). 


ing that the people were being robbed of the palladium of their 
liberties; and the free and unterrified pioneers were quick to 
respond. A mass meeting was held on the plaza on March 9, 1851, 
with several thousand citizens in attendance. Resolutions were 
quickly adopted approving Walker's conduct, calling on Parsons 
to resign his seat, and asking the local representatives in the legis- 
lature to initiate impeachment proceedings. After adjourning, 
the citizens marched in a body to the jail and made Walker a visit 
of sympathy. 

Habeas corpus proceedings were next instituted before a judge 
of the superior court, who held that Parsons might institute a suit 
for libel, but that his punishment for the contempt alleged in a 
newspaper statement was inconsistent with the freedom of the 
press and a violation of the Constitution. Walker was thereupon 
set free. He at once presented a memorial to the legislature, and 
the committee to which it was referred recommended on March 26 
that Parsons should be impeached. A special committee was then 
appointed to investigate the charges, and upon its reporting insuffi- 
cient grounds for impeachment the case was ended. ^ Had Walker 
possessed anything like personal magnetism, he might have made 
of this episode the foundation of a successful career in California 
politics. He was indeed not without political ambition, but in the 
prime requisites of a successful politician he was woefully lacking. 

Even the stirring scenes in San Francisco in the early fifties did 
not long satisfy this restless spirit, and shortly after the Parsons 
affair Walker removed to the newly incorporated and rapidly grow- 
ing town of Marysville. Here in 1851 and 1852 he was a partner 
of Henry P. Watkins in the practice of law. Marysville, like any 
other young Western community, was a place of open-hearted, 
democratic hospitality, but Walker, with his usual indifference, 
held himself aloof and made confidants of none. His law partner, 

1 Soul6, Gihon, and Niabet, Annala of San Francisco, 322 f. ; Louisville Times, 
Jan. 15, 1856. 


however, was a better "mixer," and the firm of the two W's en- 
joyed some practice.^ One of Walker's colleagues at the Marys- 
ville bar was Stephen J. Field, later to sit on the Supreme bench of 
both California and the United States. In recording his recol- 
lections of Walker in 1877 the justice states that " he was a bril- 
liant speaker, and possessed a sharp but not a very profound intel- 
lect. He often perplexed both court and jury with his subtleties, 
but seldom convinced either." ^ 

Walker had hardly settled in Marysville before rumours began to 
circulate that strange schemes for the colonization and conquest 
of portions of Mexico were brewing in San Francisco among the 
French element of that city. These rumours were not without 
foundation, as the following chapter will show. It was from these 
French adventurers that Walker received his impetus to abandon 
the practice of law and try his talents in still another field, and one 
which seemed to offer greater rewards for his ambition than the 
quiet pursuits of doctor, lawyer, or journalist.^ 

1 H. S. Hoblitzell, Early Historical Sketch of the City of Marysville and Yuba 
County, 9. (Marysville, 1876.) 

' S. J. Field, Personal Reminiscences of Early Days in California, 97. (Pri- 
vately printed, 1893.) 

* In connection with this sketch of Walker's eariy life it may be well to call 
attention to a curious story concerning his origin which was circulated in Paris 
during the autumn of 1858. It seems that some ten years before this date an aide- 
de-camp of the Duke de Nemours had been ostracized and compelled to leave 
France for cheating at cards in a game with certain noted personages. He was 
reported to have gone to Mexico. In 1858 a girl mistress who had followed him 
returned to Paris, and the stories she told of her lover were distorted into a statement 
that the French exile was none other than William Walker, then contending that 
he was the lawful president of Nicaragua. For a short time this absurd story 
gained wide credence in Paris. Harper's Weekly, II., 775. 


Walker's Forerunners 

While the immigrant Frenchmen were developing their schemes 
of Mexican colonization, other men of California were already 
going a-filibustering into Latin America. Indeed, some Pacific 
pioneers took to this business with the proverbial aptitude of the 
duckling for water. In 1845 President Juan Jose Flores resigned 
the presidency of Ecuador to avoid further trouble from a revolu- 
tion then brewing in his country, and spent nearly all his remaining 
years in Europe and the United States, watching for a chance to 
regain his lost power. The friends of the exiled president saw in 
the heterogeneous population of San Francisco good material for 
an armed expedition to restore Flores to his ungrateful country. 
In 1850 some two hundred and fifty adventurous souls were per- 
suaded to join in this enterprise. The moving American spirit 
in this exploit was an Alabamian by the name of "Alex" Bell, 
whom we may designate — until some one finds an earlier one — 
as the first of the Californian filibusters. In the forties Bell had 
been a steamboat captain on the Tombigbee River in Alabama, 
but having little business ability, he was exploited by swindlers 
and fell into financial difficulties. Becoming dissatisfied at the 
irregular pay which resulted from their employer's monetary em- 
barrassment, his crew one day went on a strike, whereupon Bell 
under some pretext induced them to go into the hold of the steam- 
boat, and after battening down the hatches secured another crew, 
and proceeded down the river. When the boat reached Mobile, 
the miserable strikers were nearly dead of starvation, having had 
no food for several days. Finding that the Mobile authorities 



were disposed to invoke the rigour of the law against him, Bell stood 
not on the order of his going, but turned his face toward Texas, 
where he joined the army of Zachary Taylor and served as a spy 
throughout the Mexican War. When peace was concluded, he 
proceeded overland to California in quest of further adventure 
and found it with the organization of the Ecuadorian expedition in 
San Francisco in 1850. 

The filibusters left San Francisco in 1851. At Panama many 
friends of Flores and other Spanish-American adventurers joined 
them. On reaching the coast of Ecuador they landed, captured 
Guayaquil, and marched on Quito. The fact that the Americans 
had a separate camp from the rest of Flores' supporters seems to 
indicate that the two elements were already objects of mutual 
suspicion, and one morning the Americans awoke to find them- 
selves surrounded by their Latin allies, who were strongly pro- 
tected by entrenchments and barricades. Blood had proved 
thicker than water. The rival factions had effected a reconcilia- 
tion and had now united to get rid of the newcomers. The latter 
were informed that they would be disarmed and sent home, 
but after being marched back to Guayaquil they received free 
passage only as far as Panama, where they were left to shift for 
themselves. A number straggled back to California, among them 
their leader, Alex Bell, who died in San Francisco in 1859.^ 

In this period every tenth man that one met in California was 
a Frenchman, and this nationality constituted a very peculiar 
and at the same time an important element of the population. 
While Irish, Germans, and Mexicans contributed a labouring 
population, fitted for life on the ranch or in the mines, the French 
contributed an urban element, including all sorts and conditions 
of men, from the noble marquis to the humblest peasant. Many 
of these had left their native country because of the political 

^ This account is taken from Horace Bell's Reminiscences of a Ranger in Southern 
California, 203 ff. (Los Angeles, 1881.) 


troubles of 1848, and a large proportion of them had received 
excellent military training. After the gold discoveries the French 
were among the earliest to reach the Pacific coast, as there was a 
large number of them in the near-by Spanish-American countries 
and the Pacific islands. French wines, brandies, canned goods, 
and preserved fruits brought good prices in the mining regions, and 
vessels laden with such cargoes afforded an available means of 
reaching the gold fields.^ Free tickets to California were offered 
in Paris as lottery prizes, and the advertisement of such prizes 
served as a further stimulus to emigration. Some five hundred 
persons actually drew such tickets,^ and came to the Pacific 
coast to seek their fortunes. The lot of these immigrants was 
unduly hard. Slow to become assimilated, and having no desire 
for naturalization, they herded to themselves, while British, Ger- 
mans, and Scandinavians became rapidly Americanized. The 
French complained, not without cause, that the Americans were 
more kindly disposed toward these other nationalities, but they 
were themselves partly to blame. Refusing to become citizens, 
they had little influence with the authorities, with the result that 
ruflBans drove them from their mining claims, and there were 
few chances for them to gain a livelihood in a frontier town like 
San Francisco. They formed, therefore, a clannish and sorely 
discontented element of the population, and were fine material 
for exploitation by some of their adventurous countrymen. In 
due time several of these exploiters appeared on the scene. 

In the same year in which Walker reached San Francisco there 
arrived two French noblemen, the Marquis Charles de Pindray and 
Count Gaston Raoul de Raousset-Boulbon. These men were not 
made for our era. In Middle Ages they would undoubtedly have 
passed for peerless knights, but the verdict of these more prosaic 
times denounces them as prodigal sons who had wasted their sub- 

» Daniel L6vy, Les Frangais en Cali/omie, 107 (San Francisco, 1884) ; Soul6, 
Gihon, and Nisbet, Annals of San Francisco, 461-5. 

« John S. Hittell, San Francisco, 185-7. (San Francisco, 1878.) 


stance in riotous living and had then gone forth into a far country. 
De Pindray was born of a noble family of Poitou, and is described 
as being handsome, eloquent, full of courage and energy, with the 
strength of a giant and a skill at handling weapons which gained 
him a great reputation in France as a duellist, and had brought 
him all too many victims. Such virile qualities gave him an in- 
contestable advantage in affairs with the gentler sex, and he was 
by no means remiss in his gallantries. But when this gay cavalier 
arrived in San Francisco from a journey over the plains, he was 
quite penniless, and for a time was hard put to it to get his daily 
sustenance. Thanks to his excellent marksmanship, he was 
enabled to eke out a living by supplying the market with bear 
meat and other game, but his chivalrous nature rebelled at this 
butcher's business, and he began to cast about in his mind for 
some achievement more in keeping with his noble breeding. In his 
discontented compatriots he found material to his hand for a some- 
what venturesome undertaking in Mexico. The Mexican govern- 
ment had issued a call for volunteers against the Apache Indians, 
who were committing depredations in the mining regions of Sonora. 
In return for their services these volunteers were to receive a 
grant of valuable lands, which they were supposed to colonize. 
It seems to have been the purpose of the government to plant 
settlements which would serve as a buffer between the Indians of 
the Sonoran desert and the Mexican villages in the more habitable 
regions. De Pindray made the tavern of his countryman Paul 
Niquet his headquarters, and in a very short time had raised a 
company of volunteers and had secured sufficient funds to provide 
a ship. As the Mexicans had not yet recovered from the sting of 
their defeat by the United States, they had stipulated that Ameri- 
cans should be excluded, and the adventurers were all Frenchmen. 
While his plans were maturing De Pindray is said to have ap- 
proached Count Raousset-Boulbon and invited him to join the 
enterprise. The latter declined, as he was at that moment con- 


cocting a similar scheme of his own in which he would not have to 
share the glory and rewards with another. 

On November 21, 1851, the adventurers set sail from San 
Francisco and landed at Guaymas, Sonora, the chief Mexican 
port on the Pacific, on the day after Christmas. They were joy- 
fully received by the natives, who greeted them with volleys of 
musketry, to which they would have added salvos of artillery if 
only they had had the guns. Mexican merchants vied with one 
another in entertaining the newcomers, and their stay at Guay- 
mas was a continual round of merrymaking. The authorities 
furnished provisions, horses, mules, and munitions of war and 
promised to pay the men for their services. De Pindray's com- 
patriots now numbered one hundred and fifty, and a number of 
natives also joined the expedition. Proceeding to Arispe, De 
Pindray received further assurances of good-will from Cuvillas, 
the governor, and from General Miguel Blanco, the captain- 
general of the province, and then began his march across the 
desert, whose only inhabitants were those nimble-legged demons, 
the Apaches. The mines of Arizona were the Frenchmen's 
objective point, but thither they were destined never to arrive. 
The task was greater than they had supposed ; friction developed 
between De Pindray and his men, and ill-feeling arose between 
the Mexicans and French. Finally their leader fell ill, and in 
May, 1852, the expedition halted. At the Mexican village of 
Rayon De Pindray one day was found dead with a bullet wound in 
his head. Whether as a result of illness and disappointment he 
took his own life, or whether he was assassinated by one of his dis- 
contented followers, no one knows. The survivors made their 
way out of the desert as best they could, and on their way they met 
a new expedition under the leadership of none other than Count 

> L6vy, Les FranQais en Cali/ornie, 146-8 ; Charles de Lambertie, Le Drame de 
la Sonora, 207-56 (Paris, 1856) ; Hittell, History of California, III., 727-45. 


On March 4, 1852, some three months after the departure of De 
Pindray, and ten weeks before the saiUng of Raousset-Boulbon, 
a second French expedition left San Francisco for Sonora. This 
was directed by Lepine de Sigondis, an agent of one of the many 
companies formed in Paris to exploit the gold placers of Cali- 
fornia. The enterprise was devoid of military features, and the 
sixty or more men who went to Sonora made a fruitless effort to 
found a colony and disbanded. The idea of French colonies to 
serve as a buffer against further American expansion was much 
favoured by the Mexican authorities.^ 

Count Raousset-Boulbon, the leader of the third expedition to 
Sonora, was born at Avignon on December 2, 1817. Reared 
without a mother, he grew up headstrong and turbulent, these 
qualities being aggravated by the severity of a father who failed 
to understand him. As he was of small physical proportions, 
his youthful nickname of Petit Loup (Little Wolf) well describes 
him. 2 He was nevertheless energetic, courageous, clever, and 
well educated. In his make-up there was a streak of idealism, 
and he was not devoid of personal magnetism. These qualities 
were somewhat offset, however, by his fondness for pleasure, and 
when he became possessed of his inheritance, he quickly cast it 
to the winds. In 1845 he went to Algeria and served in the cam- 
paign in Kabylia under General Bugeaud. After his return to 
Paris he aspired to a political career, set up a newspaper to pro- 
mote his cause, and was an extreme liberal in his views, as the name 
of his journal. La Liberie, indicates. A novel entitled Une^Con- 
version and a few scraps of his poetry still remain as evidences of 
his versatility.^ As a result of his prodigality he found himself, 

^ L6vy, Les Frangais en Californie, 148. 

2 Du Roure, Genealogie de la Maison de Raousaet. (Paris, 1906.) 
* The following verse, composed perhaps on the eve of hia departure from Paria, 
is one of hia literary relics : 

Mon cceur, en desesper^ 

Court la pretentaine, 

Qui peut savoir si j'irai 


in 1850, without money and without friends, and he then deter- 
mined to seek fortune anew in California. On August 22, 1850, 
he reached San Francisco, making the journey as a steerage 
passenger on an English steamer.* This ruined nobleman now 
tried his hand at several different jobs and strove industriously to 
make an honest living. Until wharves were built in the harbour 
he stuck to the work of a lighterman, and then became by turn a 
cattle dealer, miner, fisherman, and, like the Marquis de Pindray, 
a hunter. In none of these callings did he achieve success, but his 
red flannel shirt and cowhide boots could not conceal the fact that 
he was above the common order of men, and his associates uncon- 
sciously looked upon him as a leader. Large numbers of his 
compatriots, like himself, had seen the seamy side of life and had 
been tried in the fierce fires of adversity. From among these he 
could pick a group who were ready to engage in any undertaking, 
it mattered not how desperate, if only it promised to improve 
their fortunes. 

The Count, like De Pindray, was attracted by stories of the 
rich Sonoran mines. The output from these, so the story went, 
had once been considerable, but in late years they had been 
abandoned on account of the murderous incursions of the Apaches. 
Raousset-Boulbon then evolved a mining and colonization scheme, 
in which M. Patrice Dillon, the French consul at San Francisco, 
became deeply interested, and at Dillon's suggestion he took the 
precaution to visit Mexico City and secure favourable considera- 
tion by the government. Here, after much labour, in which he 

Jusqu'^ la trentaine ? 
Mais que I'avenir eoit gai 
Ou qu'on me fusille — 
Baisez-moi, Camille, 6 gu6 ! 
Baisez-moi, Camille ! 

His novel, Une Conversion, is a description of his own conversion from an aristo- 
crat into a democrat. He represents his life at the time of the writing as a calm 
after the storm. 

» L6vy, Les Franqais en CcUifomie, 107. 


was warmly seconded by the French minister, M. Levasseur, he 
effected the organization of a company styling itself La Res- 
tauradora, and in February, 1852, obtained for it the concession 
of the gold and silver mines of Arizona in the province of Sonora. 
In April he secured the services of the banking house of Jecker, 
Torre and Company as underwriters for the enterprise, and then 
engaged to bring 150 men to Guaymas as soon as possible and with 
them to explore the region known as Arizona and to take posses- 
sion of all mineral lands in the name of the company. The ex- 
pedition was to be organized on a military basis in order to clear 
the region of Indians. The Restauradora was to bear the expenses 
of the expedition and to share with Raousset-Boulbon and his 
followers one-half the lands, mines, and placers of which they took 
possession. Both the French minister and the governor of Sonora 
were financially interested in the company. 

Having completed these arrangements, Raousset-Boulbon hur- 
ried back to San Francisco, opened a recruiting office, and sent 
agents out to the mines. The consul Dillon loudly voiced his 
approval, and the force was raised without difficulty. They 
sailed for Guaymas on May 19, 1852, and landed twelve days 
later. Their welcome was as noisy as that previously accorded to 
De Pindray. In the meantime, however, a new company with 
which many high Mexican officials were concerned and which had 
the backing of the San Francisco banking house of Bolton and 
Barron, had been organized as a rival of the Restauradora; and 
while the populace of the little town were profuse in their greetings 
the local authorities showed a coolness which foreboded ill. It 
was especially unfortunate that General Blanco, the captain- 
general of Sonora, whose word was law, had been won over in the 
interest of the rival company. On May 1, while the French expe- 
dition was in preparation, he had issued a decree which was de- 
signed ostensibly to promote colonization, but which contained 
several stipulations that in American political parlance would be 


called "jokers." Among other inducements to the stranger to 
come to Sonora, the decree declared that every colonist would 
become a citizen of Mexico, but it also added that he would re- 
nounce his allegiance to his former government, obey the author- 
ities, enlist in the militia, and give a tithe of the produce of every 
harvest to the church, education, and public works.^ The wily 
captain-general knew well enough that these stipulations could be 
made a source of endless embarrassment to the French who en- 
gaged in the service of the Restauradora. 

After theu- arrival at Guaymas Raousset-Boulbon and his 
followers were compelled to remain there for a month, owing to 
Blanco's refusal first on one pretext and then on another to give 
them permission to go into the interior. Enforced idleness and 
an unhealthful climate began to show its effects on the men, and 
they also consumed a large share of the supplies that were to main- 
tain them in the desert. Finally they received permission to 
depart, but only by a diflficult and indirect route which was twice 
as long as the way generally followed. The Count ignored the 
stipulation as to direction and started over the shortest road. On 
the first night out the native muleteers deserted, taking with them 
as much plunder as they could carry. In August the French 
finally reached the pueblo of Santa Anna, a few days' journey 
from their claim, and here they were overtaken by a courier from 
Blanco with orders to the leader to cease his advance and to 
report in person to the captain-general at Arispe, over one hundred 
miles distant. Raousset-Boulbon started to the capital, and on 
his way encountered the eighty survivors of De Pindray's ill- 
fated venture. He now decided to return with these to his com- 
mand and sent two of his officers to Blanco in his stead. On 
rejoining his followers he had some difficulty in persuading them 
to wait for Blanco's message before proceeding to their claim. 
The officers brought back an ultimatum which laid down three 

» Alta California, April 29, 1854. 


courses of conduct from which the men might choose : first, they 
might renounce their nationaUty, become Mexican citizens, and 
serve as soldiers subject to Blanco's orders ; secondly, they might 
take out letters of safety, to be procured from Mexico City, which 
would give them the right to explore but not to take possession 
of any mines, and incidentally would involve another delay of 
several months ; thirdly, Raousset might reduce his company to 
fifty men and with a Mexican responsible for them they might 
proceed on their way as labourers in the service of the Restauradora 
— provided, of course, that the Apaches offered no serious objec- 
tions. After receiving this ultimatum Raousset called together 
his men, announced the conditions, and told them that they could 
take their choice. Blanco's propositions were received with 
shouts of derision. The men were told that if any wished to 
leave they could draw their supplies and do so, but not one spoke 
of going. The captain-general was therefore notified by the Count 
that the provisions of the ultimatum were personal matters in 
which each must speak for himself; that the leader could 
not speak for his men, but as to himself he rejected the pro- 
visions in toto. To this Blanco replied that such an answer 
made the Frenchmen armed enemies of the government, and both 
parties then prepared for hostilities. To gain the support of 
the natives, Raousset began to pose as the champion of Sonoran 
independence. The idea of organizing a rebellion seems to have 
been hitherto foreign to his thoughts. In true Spanish-American 
style, both sides now issued their pronunciamientos, Blanco trying 
to induce the Frenchmen to desert by promising protection to 
all who should do so, and Raousset urging the natives to enlist 
under the banner of free Sonora. Such a banner he raised on the 
21st of September. On October 14 hostilities began with an at- 
tack by Raousset upon Hermosillo, a city of about 12,000 inhabit- 
ants, guarded by 1200 soldiers with cannon behind adobe walls. 
The French numbered only 243, and by all the rules of warfare 


they should have been soundly beaten. Luck was on their 
side that day, however, and they stormed and took the town 
with ease, Blanco himself narrowly escaping capture. This 
victory brought no tangible advantage, as the native population 
gradually slipped away rather than render allegiance to new 
masters. Raousset and a number of his officers were ill, and they 
now had on hand also a number of wounded. Raousset and his 
men seemed desirous above all else to get out of the interior and 
proposed to the new governor of Sonora, Gandara, to evacuate 
Hermosillo if they would be permitted to go unmolested to Guay- 
mas. Raousset was to release his prisoners, and the Mexicans in 
return were to care for the wounded that he was compelled to 
leave behind. After holding the town only twelve days the French 
withdrew and took the road to Guaymas. At the outskirts of 
this town Blanco met the Count, but the two came to no definite 
understanding, as the latter on that same day became critically 
ill and left his men to make such an agreement with the authorities 
as they could. Five months previously they had been feted and 
cheered by the people of this town, but now there was not a peon 
so poor as to do them reverence. The captain-general caused 
them to sign an agreement to obey the laws and respect the author- 
ity of the country, which was virtually equivalent to their dis- 
bandment, and he then provided the means for any who so desired 
to return to the United States. Most of them departed in Decem- 
ber, but a few chose to remain. Raousset, who had not signed the 
agreement, went to Mazatlan in Sinaloa, where he slowly re- 
cuperated and was finally summoned back to San Francisco by 

On returning to San Francisco he received a great ovation. The 
Californians of that day had a great admiration for the man who 
"did things." The Count was like all others who have been in- 
fected with the filibustering fever ; the disease is incurable ; hard- 

» Lambertie, Le Drame de la Sonora, 80-9 ; Hittell, California, III., 731-9, 


ships and suffering seem only to aggravate the symptoms. He 
made no secret of his plans to return. "Je ne plus vivre sans la 
Sonore/' he said.^ Walker and his law partner, Henry P. Watkins, 
made him a visit and offered a proposal of cooperation; but 
Raousset declined to associate with Americans in any venture in 
Mexico, where these people were so cordially detested. A series 
of revolutions had brought to the head of the Mexican republic 
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and Levasseur had notified Dillon 
that the prospects were now good for establishing a French colony 
in Mexico. Raousset therefore made a second trip to Mexico 
City, arriving in June, 1853. Santa Anna seemed well disposed, 
and made a contract by which the Count was to bring 500 French- 
men into Sonora to serve as a garrison against the Apaches with 
a stipulated monthly pay. Shortly afterwards he revoked this 
contract and proposed that Raousset should become a naturalized 
Mexican and join his army. The latter rejected this in great 
indignation and both flew into a rage. Raousset then fled for 
his life, and Santa Anna proclaimed him an outlaw.^ 

When the Count returned to San Francisco he found that the 
Americans who had previously offered to join him were engaged 
in preparations for an independent expedition under the leader- 
ship of William Walker. There seems to have been no feeling 
of rivalry or jealousy between the two filibustering parties. 
Raousset, though refusing to aflSliate with the Americans, ap- 
parently had a friendly interest in Walker's plans. The prepa- 
rations of others caused the fever to rage all the more fiercely in 
the Frenchman's veins, and he determined to return to Sonora, 
whether Santa Anna approved of his coming or not. Frenchmen 
of means were appealed to and at first seemed favourably dis- 
posed. A report, however, that Mexico had sold Sonora to the 
United States gained credence in California as a result of the 

1 HitteU, California, III.. 739-40. 

* Lambertie, Le Drame de la Sonora, 99-102. 


Gadsden negotiations, and though the Count protested that such 
could not be true its effect on his enterprise was paralyzing. 
Public interest now became centred in the activities of Walker 
and his associates, and for a time the Frenchman passed into 
something like an eclipse. Walker's enterprise, however, was to 
revive Raousset's chances of returning to Sonora in a most un- 
expected manner, as will be explained in a later chapter. 

The Raid on Lower California 

According to Walker, the idea of founding an American colony 
in Sonora had its origin with several men of Auburn, in Placer 
County, California, early in 1852.^ They paid the expenses of 
two of their number — one of them being Frederic Emory, of 
whom more is to be told later — to visit Guaymas and undertake 
to secure a grant of land near Arispe, in return for which the 
grantees were to protect the frontier from the Indians. The 
agents arrived at a very inauspicious moment, as Raousset-Boul- 
bon had just made his contract through the agency of the Res- 
tauradora, and their mission was fruitless. After Count Raous- 
set and General Blanco had had their unpleasantness and the 
French had finally agreed to leave the country, the American en- 
terprisers took fresh courage and revived the Auburn scheme. 
Walker and his former partner, Henry P. Watkins, were this time 
selected as agents, and they sailed for Guaymas in June, 1853. 
They received anything but a cordial welcome. The prefect of 
the town refused at first to honour the passport which Walker 
had taken the precaution to secure from the Mexican consul be- 
fore leaving San Francisco and subjected them to a long exami- 
nation. The American consul warmly espoused Walker's cause, 
and a somewhat acrid correspondence between him and the 
Mexican officials followed, consuming time but accomplishing 
nothing. Finding the Mexicans so ill-disposed, the visitors made 
preparations to return to California. After they had boarded a 
vessel, word came from Governor Gandara to the prefect to permit 
them to visit him at the capital, but they were now satisfied that 

» Walker, War in Nicaragua, 19. (Mobile, 1860.) 


they could not rely upon the government's good faith, and they 
returned to San Francisco much disgusted. A report was even 
circulated in that city that the government had offered a reward 
for Walker dead or alive.^ 

Mr. T. Robinson Warren, an American traveller temporarily 
residing in Guaymas during the summer of 1853, saw a great 
deal of Walker and tells us that he was greatly impressed with 
his astuteness and determined character. He found him "in- 
sanely confident of success," and yet evincing such an extreme 
degree of caution as almost to disarm the Mexicans themselves 
of suspicion before he left them. Just how the adventurer im- 
pressed this unprejudiced observer is interesting enough to justify 
quoting at some length : 

"His appearance was anything else than a military chieftain. 
Below the medium height, and very slim, I should hardly imagine 
him to weigh over a hundred pounds. His hair light and towy, 
while his almost white eyebrows and lashes concealed a seem- 
ingly pupilless, grey, cold eye, and his face was a mass of yellow 
freckles, the whole expression very heavy. His dress was scarcely 
less remarkable than his person. His head was surmounted by a 
huge white fur hat, whose long knap waved with the breeze, which, 
together with a very ill-made, short-waisted blue coat, with gilt 
buttons, and a pair of grey, strapless pantaloons, made up the 
ensemble of as unprepossessing-looking a person as one would 
meet in a day's walk. I will leave you to imagine the figure he 
cut in Guaymas with the thermometer at 100°, when every one 
else was arrayed in white. Indeed half the dread which the Mexi- 
cans had of filibusters vanished when they saw this their Grand 
Sachem — such an insignificant-looking specimen. But any one 
who estimated Mr. Walker by his personal appearance made a 
great mistake. Extremely taciturn, he would sit for an hour in 
company without opening his lips; but once interested he ar- 

» Alta California, Sept. 12, 1853. 


rested your attention with the first word he uttered, and as he 
proceeded, you felt convinced that he was no ordinary person. 
To a few confidential friends he was most enthusiastic upon the 
subject of his darling project, but outside of those immediately 
interested he never mentioned the topic." ^ 

Though balked in their designs at Guaymas, Walker and his 
associates did not abandon their plans. Walker says that he 
saw and heard enough while there to convince him that a very 
small body of Americans could hold the frontier and protect the 
Sonorans from the Indians, and that this would be an act of hu- 
manity, whether it met the approval of the Mexican government 
or not. As if in further justification of his conduct, he adds 
that several women at Guaymas urged him to return to the United 
States at once and bring down enough men to protect them from 
the Apaches. Like Adam of old, he was glad to shift what re- 
sponsibility he could upon the shoulders of some Eve. Whether 
exaggerated or not, the reports of terrible Apache outrages were 
a source of alarm in Sonora and were generally credited in Cali- 
fornia. San Francisco newspapers above all suspicion of fili- 
bustering proclivities, such as the Alta California, were filled with 
these stories. The issue of this journal for September 15, 1853, 
gives an account of eighty murders by Indians in one week, and 
it declares editorially that Sonora must become totally depopu- 
lated if aid is not soon rendered from some foreign quarter. " How 
long," it said, "the unhappy and defenceless people of Sonora 
will be subject to their present troubles it is difficult to deter- 
mine. They cannot protect themselves and the government 
cannot protect them. Their only hope is in a war and the occu- 
pation of their territory by United States troops." ^ The reports 
were not without foundation, and may have been literally true. 

1 T. Robinson Warren, Lhiat and Foam ; or, Three Oceans and Two Continents, 
212-13. (New York, 1858.) 

' It ia very significant that this editorial appeared a few days after the return of 
Walker and Watkins to the United States. Alta California, Sept. 15, 1853. 


Warren, who spent many months in Sonora at this time, has much 
to say of the desolation of the country since the independence of 
Mexico, and attributes this to the incompetence of the gov- 
ernment and its neglect of the northern Mexican states. Over 
its most fertile plains one could ride for a hundred miles and see 
no sign of human beings — only abandoned ranches, uninhabited 
villages, and a few wild horses and cattle, remnants of the droves 
that had escaped the marauders.^ 

Coupled with these stories of Indian outrages were reports of 
fabulous mineral wealth, and especially of silver deposits which 
could be worked with very little expense. The effect was natu- 
rally to arouse the interest of speculators as well as of adventurers 
in any movement directed toward Sonora. Some weeks before 
Walker and Watkins visited Guaymas, bonds of the "Republic 
of Sonora" were issued and offered for sale in San Francisco, and 
these securities show, better than any other available evidence, 
the real designs of the promoters of the expedition. The grant of 
lands which they hoped to secure from the authorities was to be 
made only a means of effecting a peaceable entrance, and after 
they had once established themselves they purposed to overthrow 
the existing government and proclaim the independence of Sonora. 
It is more than probable that Gandara had seen through their 
duplicity, and during their stay at Guaymas he fought them with 
their own weapons. Certain it is that if the Mexican consul at 
San Francisco had ever seen one of the bonds of the "Republic" 
he would have notified his government of the real motives of the 
Americans.^ The Mexican grant would have saved the filibusters 

» T. Robinson Warren, ov> dt., 183-4 ; 201-2. 
> Copy of a Bond issued May 1, 1853. 
$600 Independence Loan $500 

The Independence Loan Fund has received of the sum of $500, and 

the Republic of Sonora will issue to him or his assigns a land warrant for one square 
league of land, to be located on the public domain of said Republic. 
Signed this first day of May, 

Wm. Walker, 

Colonel of the Independence Regiment. 
From Alta CaLifcrmia, Dec. 1, 1853. 


from annoyance by the Federal authorities in San Francisco and 
assured them of no molestation on landing in northern Mexico. 
In other words, it would have given to the expedition the stamp of 

During Walker's absence the preparations for the undertaking 
were not suspended, and after his retm-n in September, 1853, 
they were pushed to a conclusion. The lack of papers from the 
Sonoran governor, to indicate that the undertaking was for 
peaceable colonization and had the approval of his government, 
now proved a serious handicap. At about midnight on September 
30 a detachment of troops acting under the orders of General 
Ethan Allen Hitchcock seized the brig Arrow, which for several 
days had been receiving a suspicious cargo. In its hold were 
found a quantity of cartridges, cooking kettles, and other camp 
outfit. Many of the boxes containing this equipment were marked 
**Col. Stevenson's Regiment." It was noted, too, that arrange- 
ments had been made in the galley to prepare food at sea for an 
unusually large number of men. 

Hitchcock turned the vessel over to the United States marshal. 
Walker went before a judge of the Superior court and secured a 
writ of replevin, alleging that the vessel had been seized and held 
without legal warrant. In issuing the writ the judge gave an 
opinion to the effect that the vessel could not be held without 
being libelled. At this juncture Hitchcock took the vessel again 
in his charge and placed a Major Andrews aboard with fourteen 
soldiers. When the sheriff appeared to serve the writ, the major 
ordered him off with threats of violence. Whatever may have 
been his motives, Hitchcock's methods were pretty sure to in- 
volve him in difficulties with the court, and, as was to be expected, 
he was ordered on October 8 to show cause why he should not be 
adjudged guilty of contempt. Walker at the same time filed a 
complaint of trespass against Hitchcock and R. P. Hammond, 
the collector of the port, and laid claim to damages accruing from 


the seizure of the vessel. It is interesting to note that one of the 
attorneys for Walker was Edmund Randolph, the friend of his 
New Orleans days. The vessel was ordered released, and the 
court took the matter of contempt under advisement.^ Suspi- 
cion was next directed toward the brig Caroline, which on October 
15 took clearance papers for Guaymas. At about one o'clock 
on the morning of the 16th officers seized a quantity of ammuni- 
tion as it was being taken on board, but, perhaps profiting by 
their experience with the Arrow, they made no attempt to seize 
the ship. Shortly thereafter the Caroline weighed anchor and 
stood out to sea. Hurrying her departure so as to escape further 
interference, she left behind a number of disappointed filibusters 
as well as the ammunition which had been seized.^ On board 
the vessel were forty-five men under the leadership of William — 
now Colonel — Walker, once doctor, lawyer, and editor, now 
soldier of fortune and filibuster. 

Although the ultimate goal of Walker and the First Independent 
Battalion, as his men were called, was Sonora, they were as yet 
too few in numbers to attempt an invasion. Their leader had the 
prudence to profit by the troubles of De Pindray and Raousset- 
Boulbon and keep away from Guaymas. He determined, there- 
fore, to establish himself in Lower California and after receiving 
reinforcements to reduce this State to submission and make it the 
base of his operations against Sonora. He seems, however, to 
have left the details of this plan to work themselves out ; for his 
frequent changes of base after his landing can be accounted for 
in no other way. On October 28 the Caroline touched at Cape 
San Lucas and thence proceeded to La Paz, where the expedi- 
tionists landed on November 3, made a prisoner of the governor, 
hauled down the Mexican flag and replaced it with the flag of the 
independent Republic of Lower California. All this consumed 

1 Alta California, Oct. 2, 9, 11, 1853 ; Soul6, AnnaU of San Francisco, 474-80. 
« Alta California, Oct. 18, 1853. 


perhaps one half of an hour. Meanwhile Walker picked up the 
weapon with which he was most skilled — the pen — and indited 
his first proclamation; namely, "The Republic of Lower Cali- 
fornia is hereby declared free, sovereign, and independent, and all 
allegiance to the Republic of Mexico is forever renounced." By 
this decree of twenty-three words a new republic was supposed 
to be born into the world and to take its place at the council 
board of the nations. Walker at once entered upon his duties 
as "President." The terrible earnestness of the man makes the 
situation all the more comical. Four days later two more decrees 
were issued ; one, of nine words, established freedom of trade with 
all the world; the second declared the Civil Code and the Code 
of Practice of the State of Louisiana to be "the rule of decision 
and the law of the land, in all the courts of the Republic to be 
hereafter organized." ^ To this latter decree some of Walker's 
critics attached a sinister significance, claiming that he was merely 
accomplishing by indirection what he feared to do openly and 
above board ; namely, open his new republic to African slavery.^ 
Since Louisiana was a slave State, they say, the promulgation of 
its legal system in Lower California could have been for no other 
conceivable purpose than to set up there the peculiar institution. 
They fail to observe, however, that the legal systems of Mexico 
and of Louisiana had a common origin and were in many respects 
similar, and that inasmuch as Walker was well versed in the civil 
code of Louisiana he was introducing into his government a body 
of law with which both he and the natives would be familiar. 
Had Walker maintained himself in Lower California he would 
undoubtedly have considered the question of slavery extension 
and in all probability would have favoured it, but those who see 
such a motive in his decree of November 7 are merely reading 
the future events into his present acts. 

Finding La Paz unsuitable for his seat of government. Walker 

1 Alta California, Dec. 8, 1853. « Hittell, History of California, III., 763. 


remained there only three days and then embarked for San Lucas, 
taking with him Espanoza, the captive governor, and the archives 
of the province. At this juncture a vessel entered the harbour 
bringing a Colonel RoboUero, the new governor who was to succeed 
Espanoza. He was likewise taken prisoner and brought aboard 
the Caroline. Before hoisting sail, six men were sent ashore to 
gather wood, and were fired upon by the natives. This precip- 
itated the first fighting of the expedition. Walker landed with 
thirty men, and there was some discharging of firearms for an 
hour and a half; after this the filibusters withdrew to the ship, 
claiming a great victory, which was also claimed in equal degree 
by the Mexicans.^ 

On November 8 Walker reached San Lucas. A Mexican revenue 
cutter cruising off the Cape offered no resistance. On landing 
they found the place incapable of sustaining any considerable 
force and the next day the men reembarked and proceeded to 
Ensenada, about one hundred miles south of San Diego, California, 
and on the Pacific side of the peninsula. For some time this 
remained the filibuster headquarters, as the place could be de- 
fended from attack by the Mexicans and was a convenient point 
at which to await reinforcements. 

The affair at La Paz was advertised in California as a great 
victory, "releasing Lower California from the tyrannous yoke 
of declining Mexico and establishing a new republic." ^ As soon 
as the news reached San Francisco a recruiting office was opened 
and the flag of the new republic was hoisted at the corner of 
Kearny and Sacramento streets. There was no excitement, the 
news being taken as a matter of course. It was very plain that 
public sentiment was on the side of the adventurers.^ On the 

^ The filibuster version may be found in the Alia California, Dec. 8, 1853 ; the 
unfavourable version, later in reaching the United States, may be found in the 
same journal for Jan. 3, 1854. 

' The San Diego correspondent of Alta California, Dec. 8, 1853. 

' Bell, Reminiscences of a Ranger, 212 ; Alta California, Dec. 10, 1853. 


very day after the news of La Paz was received a meeting was held 
at one of the engine houses of the fire department and about fifty 
more men volunteered. Seekers after gold who had failed in their 
quest, and scores of others who had found fortune as fickle in the 
West as elsewhere, were now anxious to try their luck again in 
Lower California, feeling that if their lot were not bettered it 
at least could be no worse. The chances of fame and fortune 
were indeed remote, but at any rate they would have adventure 
and excitement. General Hitchcock, who previously had shown 
so much hostility, had been detailed elsewhere, and his successor. 
General John E. Wool, had not yet arrived. The civil authorities 
were indifferent. Securities of the new republic were offered for 
sale at ten cents on the dollar.^ Within five days the new expedi- 
tion was ready, and on the night of December 13, 230 men put to 
sea in the bark Anita, under the leadership of Watkins.^ They 
joined Walker at Ensenada. During his period of enforced wait- 
ing the President, if we may believe the reports inspired from his 
headquarters, had placed the new government on a firm and sure 
basis. He now had a cabinet, consisting of Secretaries of State, 
War, and Navy, and a military and naval organization. Frederic 
Emory, the Secretary of State, in the absence of pressing business 
in the department of foreign affairs, was despatched to the great 
neighbouring republic of the North to secure further enlistments 
and contributions for the cause, and there he became involved in 
difficulties with the Federal authorities, as will appear later. 
Charles H. Gilman, the ranking military officer, with the title 

1 Soul6, Gihon, and Nisbet, Annals of San Francisco, 479. 

2 The scenes attending the departure of the Anita are graphically described in 
William V. Wells, Walker's Expedition to Nicaragua, 30-2. (New York, 1856.) 
Many of the recruits had celebrated their departure by too generous libations of 
liquor, and in spite of the efforts of their leaders to maintain silence and secrecy, so 
as to prevent any governmental interference at the eleventh hour, they sang and 
cheered to their hearts' content, but without arousing the attention of the authori- 
ties. As a result of their departure, says Soul6, the San Francisco annalist, "the 
recorder's court at San Francisco had much less daily business, and the city was 
happily purged of the old squad of rowdies and loafers." 


of captain of battalion, was destined to lose a leg in the service, 
and in spite of his sufferings and of this great handicap he was 
among the first to join Walker two years later in Nicaragua.^ 
On November 30 Walker issued an address to the people of the 
United States, giving his reasons for the course he had taken. It 
was, he said, " due the nationality which has most jealously guarded 
the independence of American States to declare why another 
Republic is created on the immediate confines of the great Union." 
He declared that the peninsula, being isolated geographically 
from the rest of Mexico, had been woefully neglected, and that 
in order "to develop the resources of Lower California, and to 
effect a proper social organization therein, it was necessary to 
make it independent." ^ The spectacle of a man still in his 
twenties, with some twoscore social misfits as his entire support, 
solemnly explaining to twenty-five million people why he had 
seen fit to create a new nation on their borders, needs the pen of 
a Cervantes to do it full justice. But still more surprising things 
were to follow. 

While awaiting reinforcements at Ensenada, Walker was 
attacked by Mexicans, and for several days his company was 
closely besieged in an adobe house where they had taken refuge. 
At length, early on the morning of December 14, a sortie was 
planned which Walker proposed to lead himself, and called for 
volunteers. His men, however, dissuaded him from taking the 
risk, and the command then fell upon Crocker, who made the attack 
with twenty men and drove the besiegers away. In this attack 
Lieutenant McKibbin was killed, and the house was named Fort 

» The full roater of officials was as follows : William Walker, President ; Frederic 
Emory, Secretary of State; John M. Jarnigan, Secretary of War; Howard H. 
Snow, Secretary of the Navy ; Charles H. Oilman, captain of battalion ; John 
McKibbin, first lieutenant ; Timothy Crocker, second lieutenant ; Samuel Buland, 
third lieutenant ; Wm. P. Mann, captain of the navy ; A. Williams, first lieuten- 
ant of the navy ; John Grundall, second lieutenant of the navy. 

One man in every four was thus a cabinet official or a commissioned officer. 

» Wells, Walker's Expedition, 245. 


McKibbin in his honour. During the siege the Caroline weighed 
anchor and sailed away for no known reason, and in her hold she 
carried off most of the remaining provisions. It is possible that 
the two captive governors on board may have won over the crew 
and sailed southward to liberty. On the 28th the Anita arrived 
with the long-expected reinforcements, but she brought only men 
and arms and no food.^ As a result, there were over two hundred 
additional mouths to be fed from Walker^s already dwindling 
stores. There was no alternative but to begin foraging on the 
country, and the attack of a fortnight previous was easily made 
an excuse for living off the enemy. 

On the 29th Walker despatched sixty-five men to attack a 
noted Mexican outlaw named Melendrez, who had stationed him- 
self in the neighbouring village of San Tomas, and after driving 
him away they seized a large number of horses and cattle, on the 
ground that these, being the property of the outlaw, had already 
been declared confiscated by the government.^ The filibusters 
were now reduced to a diet of beef and corn, and discontent and 
desertions naturally followed. Watkins returned immediately to 
the United States to seek further aid, and the desertions were for 
a time counterbalanced by new arrivals.^ 

It was not Walker's intention to remain upon the desolate 
peninsula a day longer than was necessary, as Sonora had all 
along been his real objective. He now believed that he was strong 
enough to undertake his real work and began his preparations for 
a march to Sonora by way of the Colorado River. Such property 

^ In this party'of recruits was one woman, a Mrs. Chapman, the wife of one of 
Walker's captains. She rendered much service in looking after the sick and 

2 Alta California, Jan. 10, 1854. 

' Some of these, however, encountered on their way deserters returning from 
Lower California, and the gloomy stories of the latter caused many a would-be 
fihbuster to turn back. On January 26 no fewer than one hundred and twenty- 
five of them left San Francisco on the steamer Goliah for San Diego. From this 
town the recruits made their way to join Walker as best they could. Alta California, 
Jan. 27 and Feb. 4, 1854. 


of the unfriendly rancheros in the neighbourhood as could serve 
his purposes was confiscated. Cattle were slaughtered and beef 
was dried for the march ; wild horses were broken for the men, and 
the men were also broken to the horses.^ Then followed the most 
Quixotic of all his decrees, four of them, all bearing the date of 
January 18, 1854. By these he annexed Sonora to his Republic 
of Lower California, changed the name of his country to the 
Republic of Sonora, divided it into the two States of Sonora and 
Lower California, and defined their boundaries. All decrees of 
a general nature previously issued under the Republic of Lower 
California were declared in force as decrees of the Republic of 
Sonora. Walker therefore became president of Sonora, and 
Watkins was his vice-president. To practical Americans with 
their keen sense of humour the comedy of these pronunciamientos 
was delicious. "He [Walker] is a veritable Napoleon," said the 
editor of one newspaper, "of whom it may be said, as of the 
mighty Corsican, ' he disposes of courts and crowns and camps as 
mere titulary dignitaries of the chess board.' Santa Anna must 
feel obliged to the new president that he has not annexed any 
more of his territory than Sonora. It would have been just as 
cheap and easy to have annexed the whole of Mexico at once, and 
would have saved the trouble of making future proclamations." 
The incident reminded this writer of the petty prince of a hand- 
ful of Ethiopians described in the pages of Mungo Park. After 
filling himself with camel's milk and hominy, that sable potentate 
ordered his prime minister to go out and give a loud blast on his 
horn and announce that all the world might go to dinner. This 
for a long time had been regarded as the climax of the ridiculous, 
but Walker had surpassed Prince Gumbo.^ 

The discontent of Walker's men increased with inactivity and 
poor food until a number of them were on the verge of mutiny. 
Finally an order which he issued depriving the company of Cap- 

^Alta California, Jan. 31, 1854. » Jbid., Jan. 30, 1854. 


tain Davidson of a number of horses which they had picked up 
brought matters to a crisis. These men thought that they were 
entitled to their mounts and resented seeing them taken away 
and given to others. The murmurings became so serious that 
the leader assembled the men and addressed them, and at the end 
of his speech announced his intention of exacting from them 
an oath of allegiance. Some fifty men refused to take the oath, 
the majority of them being members of Davidson's company. 
These were requested to leave camp within two hours, and after 
filling their pockets with corn they took their guns and started 
on foot in the direction of San Diego. An officer rushed after 
them and told them that they must leave their arms behind. They 
ignored him, however, and he drew his pistol, whereupon they 
flourished their weapons and dared him to fire. The officer next 
summoned the guard and ordered them to fire on the deserters. 
They refused to do so, or even to remain in ranks. Some of the 
hot-headed supporters of Walker now aimed a loaded field-piece 
at the retreating party and Walker had difficulty in restraining 
them. He himself now started after the men with a squad of his 
loyal followers, overtook them, and spoke to them very kindly, 
urging them to go back and get some rations and to leave th^ir 
guns behind, as they were badly needed. Two men gave up 
their rifles and several sullenly smashed theirs on the rocks. The 
deserters then went on their way to San Diego, where they re- 
ceived a free passage on the steamer to San Francisco.^ 

Desertions, wounds, and sickness now reduced Walker's effective 
force to one hundred and thirty men. A Mexican brig-of-war 
blockaded the mouth of the harbour to prevent further reinforce- 
ments, and on February 11 the United States ship-of-war Ports- 
mouth arrived in the harbour, and its officers visited Walker at his 
quarters. This visit seems to have boded no good to the fili- 
buster cause ; for Walker at once hastened his departure, spiking 

1 Alta California, Feb. 4, 1854. 


and burying all his guns but one, which he took with him, and 
leaving behind eight sick and wounded men, who were taken care 
of by Captain Dornin of the Portsmouth and carried to San Diego.^ 
The filibusters left Ensenada on February 13, reached the 
village of San Tomas on the 16th, and on the 17th proceeded to 
San Vicente. Here for the first time Walker tried to exercise 
something like political control over the natives. He summoned 
a "convention" of the Mexicans in the vicinity on the 28th, and 
on that day sixty-two of them attended. The delegates were 
received with full military honours, which were undoubtedly 
intended for something more than mere ceremony. After these 
formalities the oath of allegiance was administered; the dele- 
gates volunteering to do this, according to the filibuster version, 
and being compelled to do so by threats, if we may believe Walker's 
enemies. At any rate the ceremony of oath-taking was made as 
impressive as circumstances would permit. A table was secured 
and placed in an open space. In front of this were placed two 
flags of the Republic of Sonora crossing each other in such a way 
as to form a kind of arch. The president and his cabinet and 
staff officers stood on one side of the table and " a member of the 
Judiciary" — a department apparently created for the occasion 
— and an interpreter on the other. Each native came up, gave 
his name, took the oath, and then passed under the flags in token 
of his submission. When the last man had taken the oath the 
field-piece was fired, the soldiers cheered, and several Germans 
who had brought their musical instruments from California at- 
tempted a few martial airs. On the following day a paper was 
promulgated entitled the "Declaration or Representation of the 
Inhabitants of the State of Lower California, of the Republic of 
Sonora, to his Excellency the President." Ostensibly, it was a 
result of the deliberations of the "convention." It states that 
the delegates have assembled voluntarily, is full of praise for 

» Alta California, Feb. 22, 1854. 


Walker and the conduct of his men, and declares that the signers 
will serve him faithfully unto death. Every sentence of the 
"Declaration" refutes its genuineness. It was inspired, if not 
actually written, by Walker himself, and is carefully worded with 
a view to contradicting in the United States the unfavourable 
reports of his treatment of the natives. Even if there were no 
other reason to doubt the authenticity of the document, the last 
sentence alone lets the cat out of the bag. "We request of your 
Excellency that the provisions we have on hand, and may receive 
in the futm-e, be subject to your orders when the requisitions 
are properly signed by your commissary, which requisitions will 
always be cheerfully complied with, confident that we will be 
reimbursed hereafter." ^ Verily, the belief of the filibuster leader 
in the gullibility of the American people must have been great, 
if he supposed that they would be taken in by such barefaced 
trickery. While such deception gained Walker no friends, it 
seems to have done him no particular harm. Indeed, this and 
all other facts indicating that he was in a desperate situation 
served only to arouse sympathy at home for the Americans in 

The president of Sonora was still far from his intended des- 
tination. Governmental interference in San Francisco had 
stopped all hope of further reinforcements, and with desertions 
and increasing native hostility he was growing weaker every 
day. Still his camp was not a band of unorganized rabble ; the 
leader was a strict disciplinarian, and punctilious in matters of 
military etiquette to an exasperating degree. To men who had 
never known the meaning of discipline or self-control this restraint 
was especially galling and was one cause of the numerous deser- 
tions. An incident which illustrates the severity of his rule oc- 
curred just two days after the San Vicente convention. Four of 
his men were charged with organizing a party to desert, where- 

1 Alia California, March 15, 1854. 


upon Walker ordered the two leaders shot and the other two 
flogged and driven from his camp.^ At length, on March 20 the 
journey toward Sonora was begun. A small force of twenty 
men was left at San Vicente to hold the barracks, and with one 
hundred men and a drove of cattle Walker turned eastward and 
began the march across the rugged trails of the Sierras to the 
Colorado River. The journey occupied two weeks, the distance 
being about two hundred miles as the crow flies. In the moun- 
tains they lost some of their cattle, and treacherous Indian guides 
carried off still more.^ After much suffering the men arrived at 
the Colorado about six miles above its mouth. Here the river 
was so wide, swift, and deep that it was impossible to convey the 
cattle across. The men crossed on rafts, but such cattle as they 
attempted to swim were drowned. They were at last in Sonora, 
but the country before them seemed as uninviting as the one they 
had just left behind. The men had received no clothing since 
leaving San Francisco, and were now in rags. Walker himself 
had only one dilapidated boot. To go forward without their 
beef was impossible; to remain where they were meant star- 
vation. The nearest point at which relief might be obtained 
was Fort Yuma, some seventy miles up the river and just over 
the American boundary. About fifty men deserted and be- 
took themselves there. The expedition had now disintegrated. 
The men seemed particularly to resent Walker's standing upon 
his dignity in such an extremity, and his apparent lack of sensi- 
bility to then* sufferings. He was unable to let them forget that 
he was still their commander and president.* 
After three days in Sonora Walker and the remnant of his 

» AUa California, March 16, 1854. 

* Arthur W. North, in Camp and Camino in Lower California, 53-4 (N. Y., 1910), 
gives the route pursued by Walker to the Colorado. As he got his information from 
Indians in this region over fifty years later, his account must be handled with great 
caution. This is especially necessary when it is observed that the author's whole 
story of Walker in Lower California is full of inaccuracies. 

» Alta California, April 26, 1854. 


followers recrossed the river and began retracing their steps to 
San Vicente, mainly because there was no other course open to 
them. Arriving there on April 17, they found that the garri- 
son which they had left behind had been attacked and wiped 
out by Melendrez. That leader now appeared on the outskirts 
of the town, where his men shouted insults at the filibusters and 
trailed a captured flag of the Republic in the dust. From this 
tune till the final surrender of Walker to officers of the United 
States army, Melendrez and his followers constantly harassed the 
men without risking a serious encounter. The Mexican sent 
Walker a note under a flag of truce offering him freedom to leave 
the country unmolested if the men would lay down their arms. 
As Walker had no idea of relying on Mexican promises, he tore 
up the note and drove the messenger from his quarters. 

Melendrez was making it too unpleasant for the remaining 
handful of filibusters, and they turned their faces toward the 
American border. As they retreated mounted Mexicans circled 
continually around them and made life still more miserable for 
the dejected men. As they neared the boundary Melendrez no- 
tified them that they would not be allowed to cross unless they 
first disarmed. Walker sent word that if Melendrez wanted their 
arms he must come and take them. The Mexican leader also 
notified Major J. McKinstry, commanding the post at San Diego, 
of his intention to capture Walker, and received word that the 
American government would interfere in no way. The news of 
Walker's approach drew many spectators out from San Diego, 
and they posted themselves on a hill to see the fighting. Me- 
lendrez interposed himself between Walker and the boundary as 
if to block the way, but Walker on approaching the position or- 
dered his "advance guard" to charge, and as they rushed forward 
with a cheer the Mexicans put spurs to their horses and galloped 
away. Walker met Major McKinstry and Captain H. S. Burton 
at the boundary, where he and his men surrendered and agreed 


on their parole of honour to go to San Francisco and report to 
General John E. Wool, charged with violating the neutrality 
laws of the United States. Thirty-three men besides Walker 
signed the parole, being all that were left with the leader at the 
end of his career as President of Sonora. Walker surrendered on 
his thirtieth birthday. May 8, 1854. A week later the entire 
party were in San Francisco awaiting the action of the Federal 

The sober judgment of history must condemn the whole affair 
in Lower California as an inexcusable raid upon an unoffending 
people. The high moral ground upon which Walker bases his 
defence — that the dictates of hiunanity are superior to the law 
of nations — was later to be used against him to his own injury. 
It is needless, moreover, to inquire into the merits of his conten- 
tion that he engaged in the undertaking for the defense of the 
helpless Sonorans against marauding Indians, although it is 
not improbable that Walker succeeded in convincing himself 
that this was true. Of the two evils the Sonorans would very 
probably have preferred Indians to filibusters. 

It is easy enough to point out the strategical blunders of the 
expedition. Attempting to invade a hostile country with only 
forty-five men; having no definite plan of campaign, sailing for 
Guaymas, but landing at La Paz, then doubling back to Ensenada, 
and from there straggling back and forth from village to village, 
next starting toward Sonora over a desert route whose dijQBculties 
were unknown, and finally retracing his steps along the same 
weary way on account of meeting with an impassable physical 
barrier — such errors show only too plainly that Walker was 
devoid of many of the essential qualities of leadership. On the 
other hand, we must bear in mind the enormous diflSculties with 
which he had to contend. His untamed men had to be broken 
to the work like wild horses ; his resources were woefully slender, 

» Alia Califomia, May 16, 1864 ; WeUs, WcUker'a Expedition, 276. 


and aid and support from home were uncertain and irregular at 
best. Many joined the enterprise in search of adventure or 
virgin mines. As they found neither of these, but only irksome 
camp life in an almost desolate country, it is not surprising that 
they deserted at the first opportunity. And the desertions were 
not due to lack of discipline but to too much of it. That Walker 
after this failure did not become an object of ridicule was due to 
his manifestation of personal bravery. A man who could face 
such dangers without flinching and never for a moment lose his 
dignity and composure was bound to challenge the admiration 
of the pioneer Californians, and they made him a hero. 

One other question now remains to be considered. How far 
was Walker influenced in this undertaking by a desire for the 
expansion of slavery? If we may believe some writers this 
slavery extension idea was the foundation stone of the whole 
scheme.^ Every intelligent American citizen was fully aware 
that territorial expansion southward at this time would in all 
probability be followed by slavery extension, and adopting a 
post hoc ergo propter hoc line of reasoning a number of recent 
writers have assumed that all expansionist activities to the south 
of the American republic were prompted and directed by slavery 
propagandists. Reasoning from such a premise, they have 
naturally concluded that Walker was an agent or tool of this 
group of partizans. One writer indeed has gone so far as to assert 
that Walker left New Orleans and went to California for no 
other purpose than to enlarge the domain of slavery.^ In sup- 
port of their assumptions they allege, first, that Walker got his 
idea from the movement against Cuba, which was centred in 
New Orleans during his residence there; secondly, that he had 
the support of the slavery element in Washington, as is attested 
by the fact that General Hitchcock was relieved from his duties 

1 See, for instance, a letter in Alta California, Dec. 24, 1863. 
» Auguste Nicaise, Les Flibustiers Amiricains. (Paris, 1860.) 


as commander of the department of the Pacific by Jefferson 
Davis, the Secretary of War, immediately after his interference 
with the departure of the Arrow; and thirdly, that one of Walk- 
er's first poHtical acts in Lower CaHfornia was to declare in force 
the laws of Louisiana, a slave State. The first of these allega- 
tions has been refuted in an earlier chapter, in which it was shown 
that Walker, while a New Orleans editor, had opposed the fili- 
bustering movement against Cuba. The second is more serious, 
implying a widespread conspiracy on the part of the slavery 
element to wrest portions of territory from Mexico for their own 
aggrandizement, and assuming some subtle connection between 
the unprepossessing Marysville lawyer and a high oflScial in the 
President's cabinet. On this point, fortunately, we have the aid 
of General Hitchcock's diary. On December 16, 1853, two months 
after the affair of the Arrow, he records : "The mail to-day brings 
a letter of approval of my work from the new Secretary of War. 
Previous order confirmed. I am specially designated to com- 
mand the Department of the Pacific according to my brevet 
rank — certainly complimentary, considering that there are 
many officers of the army who rank me and yet are without 
department commands. ... I have applied for leave of ab- 
sence to go to the East, by way of China, India, etc." ^ On 
February 2, 1854, Hitchcock records in his diary that he is to be 
relieved by General Wool, and alleges as the reason the fact of 
his close friendship for General Scott, to whom Pierce and Davis 
were hostile. There is never a hint that his opposition to Walker 
was in any way connected with his removal from the head of the 
department of the Pacific. Moreover, if such had been the case, 
Davis would have at least taken the precaution of supplanting 
him with some officer more likely to favour filibustering than 
was General John E. Wool. The latter, as the next chapter will 

» Fifty Years in Camp and Field: Diary of Major-General Ethan Allen Hitchcock, 
edited by W. A. Croffutt, 405. (New York, 1909.) 


show, went to far greater extremes than Hitchcock in making 
life burdensome for the fihbusters. 

If Walker really went to Lower California in the interests of 
the slavery party, we should naturally expect the Southern jour- 
nals to champion his cause. The New Orleans True Delta of 
December 27, 1853, refers, however, to "the freebooters under 
'President Walker,'" and the Picayune of January 15, 1854, 
declares Walker's followers are "rash young men" and his ex- 
pedition "a rash and desperate undertaking, and if . . . they 
escape back with their lives it will be fortunate for them that 
they were unable to get farther." 

All evidence goes to show that the Sonoran enterprise was the 
result of no concerted movement of Southern men to enlarge the 
bounds of slavery. Had such been the case, it would have come 
nearer meeting with success. There is less reason for assuming 
that Walker was at this time the agent of slavery propagandists 
than there is for believing that De Pindray and Raousset-Boul- 
bon were agents of Louis Napoleon. 

The Filibusters before the Courts 

January 9, 1854, was an evil day for the French and American 
filibusters on the Pacific coast, for it was on this date that Secretary 
Jefferson Davis assigned to the command of the Department of the 
Pacific Brevet Major General John E. Wool.^ On the day follow- 
ing this assignment Wool wrote to Davis asking for his views 
concerning the course that should be pursued toward expeditions 
against Lower California, which, according to the latest advices, 
were then attracting much attention in San Francisco. Davis 
replied on the 12th, stating that there would devolve upon Wool 
" the duty of maintaining our international obligations, by prevent- 
ing unlawful expeditions against the territories of foreign powers. 
Confidence is felt that you will, to the utmost of your ability, use 
all proper means to detect the fitting out of armed expeditions 
against countries with which the United States are at peace, and 
will zealously cooperate with the civil authorities in maintaining 
the neutrality laws." ^ 

Wool arrived in San Francisco on February 14 and at once 
gave his attention to breaking up filibustering. On March 1 he 
notified Davis that he had arrested Watkins and had thereby 
broken up Walker's recruiting rendezvous. He also stated that 
he was close on the trail of Count Raousset, whom he regarded as 
one of Walker's assistants. On the 15th he reported the arrest 
at San Diego of Frederic Emory, Walker's Secretary of State, and 

1 House Ex. Doc, no. 88, 35 Cong., 1 Sesa., 6. « Ibid., 6. 



several others of his adherents.^ Among the others were Major 
Baird, Captain Davidson, and Dr. Hoge, Walker's surgeon.^ 

On March 1 a Federal grand jury returned true bills against 
Watkins, Davidson, and Baird, and the trial of Watkins began on 
the 20th. The attorneys for the defence were Edmund Randolph 
and Henry S. Foote, a former governor of Mississippi. The 
evidence tended to show that Watkins had taken the leading part 
in fitting out the Anita and enlisting recruits for reinforcing 
Walker; that the ship carried arms and ammunition; that the 
men drilled regularly while at sea ; and that Watkins was in com- 
mand during the voyage and brought the ship back after landing 
the men at Ensenada. In his speech for the defence Randolph 
took the ground that Watkins had committed no hostile act against 
Mexico until he had left the jurisdiction of the United States. 
His only hostility while in the United States had consisted in think- 
ing, and he could not be tried for what he did, as it was done in 
Mexico. Foote's argument for the defence consisted of an attempt 
to prove the neutrality laws unconstitutional. The Federal dis- 
trict attorney, Mr. S. W. Inge,^ in summing up for the government, 
dwelt upon the fact that the defence had made no attempt to 
answer the testimony of any of the witnesses for the prosecution ; 
he explained wherein the expedition was a violation of the law, and 
then sought to work on the prejudices of the jurors, several of whom 
were prominent business men, by declaring that successful fili- 
bustering would be a positive injury to the city and State by draw- 
ing off the population and depreciating property values. Judge 
Hoffman's charge to the jury was not at all favourable to the 
accused. They were to pay no attention, he said, to the question 
of the constitutionality of the neutrality laws; that point had 
already been settled by the highest court in the land. "I do not 

1 House Ex. Doc, no. 88, 35 Cong., 1 Sess., 10, 19. Emory was arrested on the 
8th. Alta California, March 15, 1854. 
* Alta California, March 3, 1854. 
» Inge was a Southerner, a native of Alabama. 


desire the conviction or the acquittal, but I do know that in this 
case, for the honour and credit of the nation and government, it is 
of great importance that the verdict shall be according to the law 
and evidence, and without any regard to the majority of the 
remarks addressed to you by the counsel." ^ After five hours of 
deliberation the jury declared Watkins guilty, but recommended 
him to the mercy of the court. A fine of $1500 was imposed by 
Judge Hoffman, who made the penalty light, he said, as he regarded 
the law vindicated by the conviction. "It will astonish the pious 
people on the Atlantic," said the Alia California, "to learn that 
San Francisco has done what New York and New Orleans failed, 
discreditably failed, to do." ^ 

The case of Captain Davidson came up a week later, but the 
district attorney entered a nolle prosequi, stating that he had been 
unable to get enough evidence to satisfy a jury. A week later 
Frederic Emory, Walker's Secretary of State, was arraigned and 
plead guilty. He was fined $1500, like Watkins.^ On the follow- 
ing day the United States marshal was ordered by the court to 
take Watkins and Emory into custody until their fines had been 
paid, but he reported that they could not be found in the city. 
The next day, however, they were found and brought before Judge 
Hoffman. They declared that they were unable to pay the fine 
but would do so as soon as they could. Hoffman promised to 
release them if they would take the oath of insolvency in due form, 
but when they declined to do this the court took the matter under 
advisement, and there it ended. 

With the arrest and conviction of Walker's two chief abettors, 
the downfall of the Republic of Sonora seemed only a matter of 
a few weeks, and interest in his enterprise waned. At the same 
time Raousset-Boulbon, whom we have seen fleeing before the 

' Ogden Hoflfman, the presiding judge, was appointed from New York and was 
under thirty years of age when he took his place on the Federal bench. 
2 Alta Califomia, March 24, 1864. » Ibid., April 4 and 11, 1864. 


wrath of Santa Anna, again came into the foreground. Just as the 
Count was beginning to despair of ever again reaching Sonora, his 
chances were suddenly brightened in a very surprising manner 
through the instrumentality of Walker and his companions. The 
invasion of Lower California by an armed band of Americans con- 
vinced Santa Anna that he was between the devil and the deep 
sea, and that he must choose between French and American fili- 
busters. Of the two evils he chose the former, and authorized Luis 
Del Valle, the Mexican consul at San Francisco, to send three 
thousand Frenchmen to Guaymas without delay. Del Valle 
naturally consulted Dillon, the French consul, and the latter at 
once sent for his filibustering compatriot. Count Raousset. To the 
dejected adventurer this was a most unexpected windfall, and he 
and Dillon busied themselves with enlisting recruits. Nearly 
eight hundred of them enrolled at the ofiice of the Mexican consul, 
who had advertised for a thousand men on March 12, and a British 
ship, the Challenge, was chartered to take them to Guaymas. Just 
at the moment when Raousset's prospects seemed brightest the 
Federal government again bared its arm and dashed his plans to 
the ground. On March 23, at the instance of General Wool, the 
Challenge was held up by the collector of the port on the technical 
ground that she was carrying more passengers than the law allowed. 
This law had been constantly violated by every shipowner, and its 
sudden invocation at this moment was merely a convenient pre- 
text.^ Six days later the vessel was libelled, and the Mexican con- 
sul was placed under arrest upon the affidavit of two Frenchmen, 
Cavallier and Chauviteau, who had made a contract with Del 
Valle to carry the men to Mexico at forty-two dollars a head. It 
was commonly believed that the government had promised these 
men to release the vessel if they would appear against the consul, 
and much colour is given to this statement by the fact that the 

^ The Challenge was authorized to carry only 250 passengers, but there were 
nearly 800 on her list. Alta California, March 23, 1854. 


vessel was released and suffered to depart unmolested on April 2 
with 350 men.^ On April 5 the Mexican consul was indicted by a 
Federal grand jury for violation of the neutrality laws, and when 
his case came up a few days later his counsel demurred to the 
jurisdiction of the court,^ but were overruled. The trial received 
considerably more importance when Del Valle's attorneys sub- 
poenaed the French consul as a witness for the defence. The 
government's lawyers would have been glad to call him as a witness 
for the prosecution, but a treaty with France, of February 23, 1853, 
stipulated that the consuls of the two countries should be immune 
from compulsory process. The government's attorneys, therefore, 
merely invited him to appear, but he declined. The attorneys 
for Del Valle now claimed for their client the constitutional right 
of an accused to be confronted by witnesses, and the court upheld 
their argument, declaring that treaties must yield to the constitu- 
tion. A subpoena was then issued for Dillon, and on April 25 the 
United States marshal proceeded to the French consulate to serve 
the order of the court. He found the house surrounded by nearly 
two thousand excited Frenchmen. After some discussion Dillon 
consented to accompany the marshal to the court, after making a 
formal protest, and as they left the house the throng outside made 
a move as if to rescue their countryman. The consul coolly 
restrained them, however, but thanked them for their sympathy 
and told them that he would do his duty. Reaching the court- 
room, he again made a formal protest and declared that he would 
stand on his rights and answer no questions. The question of 
whether Dillon was in contempt was reserved by the court for 

* Alta Califomm, April 3 and May 1, 1854. Wool later stated on oath, at the 
trial of Dillon, that he permitted the departure of the Challenge only on the French 
consul's pledging his honour and that of his nation that the men aboard were merely 
colonists. AUa California, May 25, 1854. 

« They held that the constitution of the United States made the Supreme Court 
the court of original jurisdiction in all cases affecting consuls. District Attorney 
Inge, however, argued that jurisdiction over consular cases was fixed by an act of 
1789, and the court adopted his view. 


later decision, and he was allowed to return to his consulate. The 
crowd was still there and he made a speech urging them to be calm 
and assuring them that the American people would permit no 
injustice and that his government was amply able to protect its 
agents in the discharge of their duties. He concluded by asking 
them to return to their homes and to do their best to promote good 
relations with their American neighbours. Dillon now hauled 
down the tricolour over the consulate as a sign of a violation of his 
treaty rights, and refused to act longer as consul until instructed 
by his government. But as he was also consul for Sardinia he con- 
tinued to act in that capacity and incidentally to look after French 
interests. On April 26 the court announced that it would not 
construe Dillon's action as a case of contempt, and the next day 
Judge Hoffman announced that he had erred in issuing the sub- 
poena, as the consul was immune from coercion, and that his atti- 
tude in maintaining his treaty rights was proper.^ 

Meanwhile the trial of the Mexican consul proceeded. Del 
Valle was a quiet, elderly gentleman who had been in San Francisco 
but a short time, and had been doing only what he had seen others 
do. He had acted so openly that it is doubtful if he was aware 
of any violation of the law. The evidence tended strongly to show 
that he had been made a tool by Dillon. The latter had frequently 
avowed himself in public as opposed to Raousset's undertakings 
and had published a card in the Echo du Pacifique, a French news- 
paper of San Francisco, stating that his government viewed such 
undertakings with displeasure. Some one had suggested to Del 
Valle that the surest way to break up the schemes of Raousset 
would be to induce as many of the latter's followers as possible to 
join this new enterprise, as they would in this way be weaned away 
from their old leader. Dillon readily approved this proposal, 

1 This clause of the treaty was later interpreted by the two governments to nfiean 
that the consuls must always give evidence unless a disability existed. House 
Ex. Doc, 88, 35 Cong., 1 Sess., 134. 


ostensibly because it would break up forays that might disturb the 
harmonious relations between his country and Mexico, but really 
because it would enable the Count to place his men in Sonora free 
of all cost, and their leader could join them later.^ 

The defence tried to make two points: first that Del Valle's 
expedition was really an antidote to filibustering, inasmuch as it 
designed to thwart the plans of Raousset ; and secondly, that even 
if it did violate the neutrality law, that law was unconstitutional. 
In his charge to the jury. Judge Hoffman, as in the Watkins 
case, affirmed hisT^elief in the constitutionality of the law and was 
not especially favourable to the accused. After fifteen minutes* 
deliberation the jury returned a verdict of guilty, with a recom- 
mendation to the " kindest consideration and mercy." ^ Sentence 
was deferred till May 29, when District Attorney Inge asked that 
no further proceedings be taken, as the purpose had been to get the 
facts before the public and this had been achieved. 

Enough evidence had been secured at this trial to implicate 
Dillon, and on May 15 an indictment was returned against him for 
violation of the neutrality laws. The case came to trial on the 23d. 
His counsel read his protest against the proceedings, and after this 
was received as a complaint the trial proceeded. The government 
attempted to prove that the accused was the real offender in the 
violations for which the Mexican consul had been indicted. Walker 
and Watkins were both summoned to tell what they knew of the 
relations between Dillon and Raousset. Both refused to testify 
on the ground that they would incriminate themselves, though 
Watkins admitted that he had been present at conversations 

' General Wool never had any doubt of the good understanding between Dillon 
and Raousset, and was convinced also that as soon as the latter reached Mexico he 
would join forces with Walker. Dillon had told Wool at one time that the French- 
men enlisted by Del Valle would become Mexican citizens and join the Mexican 
army ; in a second letter he assured him that they were all red republicans and 
revolutionists, and would never fight for Santa Anna. House Ex. Doc, 88, 35 
Cong., 1 Sess., 95-6. 

» Alta California, April 2, 6, 11, 13, 14, 25, 26, 27, 28. 


between Walker and the Count. Edmund Randolph, Walker's 
best friend, was summoned by the defence and testified in Dillon's 
behalf.^ The jury, after deliberating for six hours, reported a 
disagreement, ten standing for conviction and two for acquittal. 
A few days later the district attorney entered a nolle prosequi, 
and the complaint was dismissed.^ Californians regarded the 
whole proceeding against the consuls as a piece of political claptrap 
designed to arouse American chauvinism and promote the political 
prospects of General Wool, who was then thought to have presi- 
dential aspirations.^ Colonel E. D. Baker, an able attorney who 
volunteered his services in Dillon's behalf, in addressing the jury 
asked why the district attorney allowed Walker to go away in 
broad daylight, and after he had failed and filibustering had 
become unpopular he should turn against foreigners. The Alta 
California declared editorially that it was no horror of filibusterism 
that prompted these indictments, but a desire for notoriety or a 
pat on the back from some big man in Washington, or a chance to 
ride into power as a result of the storm they were expected to raise.* 
On the very day on which Dillon's case came to trial. Count 
Raousset-Boulbon, the real cause of this commotion, embarked 
on a small schooner with eight companions and a good supply of 
munitions of war and stole away by night to join the Frenchmen 
who had sailed some weeks earlier in the Challenge. His going was 
perhaps a good thing for Dillon's cause, as he might have given 
damaging testimony, and it is certain that had he remained many 
days longer in California he would have been arrested by Wool. 
After suffering shipwreck on the island of Santa Margarita, off the 
coast of Lower California, and enduring many other mishaps, he 

1 Hittell in his History of California says that the arrest of the consuls was effected 
by the slavery party, who desired Sonora for themselves. Evidence, however, 
shows this view to be erroneous. Randolph was an ardent slavery man, friendly to 
Raousset, and a witness in favour of Dillon. 

' Alta California, April, May, 1854 ; Soule, Annals of San Francisco, 531-35. 

' L6vy, Les Frangais en California, 148-55. 

< Alta California, May 27, 1854. 


landed near Guaymas late in June, and betook himself secretly 
into the town by night. Only a small number of the Frenchmen 
who had preceded him were willing to join in his plan to seize 
Guaymas, fortify himself there, and wait for reinforcements from 
California. Disappointed in his countrymen, he next tried to win 
over Yanez, the commander of the garrison, urging that they both 
join a revolution then brewing against Santa Anna. The wily 
Mexican feigned much interest, but did this only to make Raousset 
reveal his plans and to gain time in which to strengthen himself 
for an attack on the Frenchman. Perceiving that he was duped, 
the Count sent Yanez an ultimatum, demanding two pieces of 
artillery for the French for their protection and three Guaymas 
merchants as hostages. This was of course rejected. The French 
for some time had been spoiling for a fight, and their leader could 
now restrain them no longer. He therefore drew up all the French 
battalion that had joined his side and made them a ringing address. 
" We shall have the victory of Guaymas as a pendant to the victory 
of Hermosillo," he said, and his men responded with cries of "Vive 
la France." An attack was now made on the barracks, where the 
Mexicans were stationed in great force with artillery and with 
adobe walls for their defence. The attacking party received a 
withering fire and were about to fall back, when Raousset put 
himself at their head and ordered a charge. Only a score dared 
follow. He seemed to be seeking death ; bullets cut his hat and 
clothing; even bayonets tore his flannel shirt, but they did him 
no harm. With so few to follow he withdrew. In the streets he 
rallied some half a hundred men and called in vain for another 
attack. They all with one consent began to make excuse; the 
principal reason being that they had no ammunition. Some 
started for the French consulate, and the rest, badly demoralized, 
followed like sheep. Last of all came their erstwhile leader. The 
&meute lasted about three hours and resulted in the death of some 
sixty men, the losses being about equal on both sides. Sixty 


French were wounded and about twice as many Mexicans. Joseph 
Calvo, the vice-consul, promised protection to all who'took refuge 
under his flag, but hesitated for some time before extending this to 
include Raousset. The latter was given every chance to flee, but 
refused, claiming the protection of the French flag. He and his 
followers were placed under arrest, and on August 10 he was tried 
before a war tribunal for inciting conspiracy and rebellion. His 
men were called as witnesses, and with a single exception they tried 
to save themselves by turning against their leader. The vice- 
consul denied that he had ever promised him protection, and 
Raousset was condemned to die. Early on the morning of the 12th 
he met death by the fusillade — a fate that overtook so many 
other filibuster leaders. His followers were pardoned. Some re- 
turned to California, and others went to South America or re- 
mained in Mexico.^ 

As soon as this news reached California Consul Dillon published 
a long letter purporting to have been written by Raousset on May 
19, 1854, on the eve of his departure for Guaymas.^ The letter 
absolves Dillon of all complicity in the adventurer's plans, and 
one cannot help wondering why it was not produced at the consul's 
trial. The fact that it was brought to light only after the death 
of its alleged author militates strongly against its authenticity. 

The matter of the consul's compulsory attendance as a witness 
naturally led to an exchange of notes between the governments at 
Paris and Washington. The American government declared its 
regret "that any occurrences should have disturbed, even for a 
moment, the good understanding of the two countries," and ex- 
pressed a desire to make full reparation.^ It was agreed that the 
first French ship of war that entered the harbour of San Francisco 
should receive a salute of twenty-one guns, bilt it was not until 

^ Lambertie, Le Drame de la Sonora, 102-6 ; HitteU, California, III., 741-55. 

' Alta California, Sept. 24, 1854. 

« House Ex. Doc, 88, 35 Cong., 1 Sess., 134-5. 


November 30, 1855, that an opportunity to make these formal 
amends presented itself. At two o'clock on the afternoon of this 
day the French warship Embuscade, which had entered the harbour 
and anchored near the American frigate Independence, received a 
salute of twenty-one guns from this vessel and also from the gar- 
rison at the Presidio. At the same time the tricolour was again 
hoisted over the French consulate for the first time in eighteen 
months. The French population had been notified beforehand 
and had gathered en masse before the consulate. With the hoisting 
of their national emblem they became almost delirious in their 
enthusiasm. Dillon made them a speech full of unctuous flattery 
for the United States in general and for California in particular. 
This was followed by a reception at the consulate to which many 
leading citizens, including Judge Hoffman himself, came to extend 
their congratulations. With the termination of this happy inci- 
dent French filibustering in California became a matter of history. 

The interest of the diplomatic representatives of France in these 
plans of Mexican colonization was made the basis for a report 
that Louis Napoleon was quietly sanctioning the expeditions.^ 
It was believed that the French government would quickly have 
supported any of these ventures if they had proved successful. 
The aid later accorded to Maximilian by this same ruler refreshed 
men's memories of the earlier French enterprises and tended to 
confirm their suspicions that an ambitious monarch was behind 
them all. 

In the midst of the trial of Dillon the grand jury brought in an 
indictment against William Walker and his Secretaries of War and 
Navy, John M. Jarnigan and Howard A. Snow. Walker was 
arraigned on June 2, and plead "not guilty," stating that the 
expedition was organized on a military basis only after it had left 
the United States.^ Edmund Randolph appeared as Walker's 

* Such a view was expressed by the New York Herald, Aug. 4, 1856. 
« Alta CcUifomia, May 27 and June 3, 1854. 


attorney. Walker was not arrested after his indictment, being 
regarded as still on parole, but after his arraignment he was placed 
under bond. Owing to the absence, first, of Frederic Emory, a 
material witness, and later also of Judge Hoffman, in the East, 
the case did not come to trial till October.^ Randolph and Ben- 
ham, Walker's attorneys, resorted to the same tactics employed 
in the trial of Del Valle and insisted upon the summoning of Dillon. 
This Judge J. S. K. Ogier ^ refused to do, but invited Dillon to 
appear and testify if he saw fit. The consul replied that he was 
prevented by "urgent reasons beyond his control" from accepting 
the invitation, but intimated his wiUingness to submit an affidavit 
affirming his entire ignorance of all circumstances calculated to 
militate in favour of or against the accused. The trial then began. 
It is interesting to note that the first witness for the government 
was Henry A. Crabb, a native of Nashville and schoolmate of 
Walker's. He was now a prominent Whig politician and member 
of the State Senate. His appearance on the stand brought out no 
material facts, and the event is here referred to because Crabb 
was later to invade Mexico and follow in Walker's footsteps. 

Walker acted as one of the attorneys in his own defence, and in 
introducing his witnesses he said : " In defence of the charges against 
me, gentlemen of the jury, I shall introduce evidence to show that 
at the time of leaving this port, my intention was to proceed to 
Guaymas and thence by land to the frontiers, and I shall also prove 
that it was only after we had got to sea and beyond the territory of 
the United States that this intention was changed, so as to land 
at La Paz ; and previously to this it was not my intention to proceed 
and land there in a hostile manner." The arguments of the coun- 
sel were along the same lines followed in the trial of Watkins. 
Benham attacked the constitutionality of the neutrality laws and 

1 Alta California, June 7 and Oct. 16, 1854. 

* Judge J. S. K. Ogier was from South Carolina, but had lived in New Orleans 
for a time before migrating to California. 
F • 


declared that if the invasion were an assault upon the people of 
Mexico it should be punished by Mexico. If Walker had first 
conceived at sea the idea of making war on Mexico the jury could 
not touch a hair on his head. While Benham was speaking Consul 
Dillon and Admiral Despointes, in command of the visiting French 
squadron, entered and took seats within the bar. Randolph, 
who followed Benham, made skilful use of this incident, stating 
that the consul's refusal to testify, though he was able to attend 
the trial, had deprived the defendant of his constitutional rights. 
Walker's speech in his own defence was naturally of especial interest. 
None of the Frenchmen, he said, who had gone to Mexico had 
been prosecuted. Why, then, should the government turn on 
him ? He related certain incidents of his visit to Guaymas, stated 
that the people had invited him to return and that he had planned 
to do so. Owing to governmental interference, however, he found 
himself at sea with only forty-five men, and with so few followers 
he was compelled to land in a sparsely settled region and protect 
himself with some sort of flag. The only thing that had supported 
him and his men in the terrible march across the desert was their 
consciousness that right and humanity were on their side. He 
had hoped to emulate the Pilgrim Fathers by rescuing Sonora from 
the savages and making it the abode of civilization. District 
Attorney Inge ridiculed the humane purposes of the filibusters, but 
argued that even if they were going to Mexico to protect the 
inhabitants against Indians their expedition was a distinct viola- 
tion of the law. He affirmed the constitutionality of the law and 
cited the conviction of Watkins and Emory as precedents. Judge 
Ogier's charge was practically identical with Judge Hoffman's 
in the previous cases, except that he undertook first to summarize 
the evidence. This brought an objection from Walker, who 
declared that the constitution of California forbade judges to 
charge on the facts. Ogier stated that this applied only to State 
courts. At the end of the charge Walker gave notice of a number 


of exceptions. The jury was out only eight minutes and returned 
a verdict of not guilty.^ 

With the acquittal of the chief of the filibusters the government 
dropped the cases against the less important participants. It 
had shot its last bolt and had little to show for its trouble. 
Wondrous indeed were the works of these juries. They had con- 
victed the guileless Mexican consul, whose chief offence had been 
to allow himself to be made a catspaw by others ; they had dis- 
agreed over Dillon, who was the high-priest of the French filibusters ; 
they had convicted Watkins, an agent of Walker, and had then 
acquitted that agent's principal ! 

As to General Wool, the prime mover in the arrests of consuls 
and adventurers, he of course got no thanks from the filibusters, 
and he received no praise from their opponents. The latter thought 
that he was playing politics. Jefferson Davis, while happy to 
note Wool's " cordial cooperation in the views of the [war] depart- 
ment," hinted strongly that he should not usurp the functions of 
civil officers by originating arrests and prosecutions for mis- 
demeanours.^ The Washington Union, the administration organ, 

1 Alta California, Oct. 19-20, 1854. 

* House Ex. Doc, 88, 35 Cong., 1 Sess., p. 52. Wool regarded this as a censure of 
his course and wrote a lengthy explanation and defence. To this Davis replied on 
Aug. 18, 1854. " It is not necessary to argue whether your construction of them 
[your instructions] is sustained by their letter. It is sufficient to the department to 
presume that the interpretation you originally put on them was sincere, and that 
you acted in accordance with that interpretation ; but when you received my letter 
of the 14th of April, stating to you the construction that the department designed 
you to place on your instructions, you should have been content to act in con- 
formity thereto. Doubtful questions may arise in regard to the powers vested in 
the President to enforce our neutrality laws, and the extent to which he may devolve 
authority for that purpose upon military officers. These laws have not yet re- 
ceived, in all points, a full judicial consideration. But it is understood from the 
language of the Supreme Court that the President may authorize a general in com- 
mand to use his command directly against violators of these laws, and without the 
interposition of the civil authorities. But the court were also of the opinion that 
this 'high and delicate power' ought only to be exercised when, 'by the ordinary 
process or exercise of civil authority, the purpose of the law cannot be effectuated,' 
and when military or naval force is necessary to ensure the execution of the laws." 
Ibid., 98-100. 


also criticised Wool for giving his whole attention to local and civil 
duties in the harbour of San Francisco, while people were being 
massacred in the outer settlements by the Indians.^ Full of re- 
sentment at such criticism, Wool, like Achilles, sulked in his tent, 
and subsequent filibustering expeditions were allowed to depart 
unmolested. This attitude of the departmental commander was 
not without its effect on Walker's later career in Nicaragua. 

1 AUa California, Dec. 24, 1854. 

Walker as a California Politician 

After Walker's return to California he did not regard himself 
as having been expatriated by becoming president of Sonora, but 
resumed his status as a citizen of Marysville and at once took an 
active interest in local politics, championing the cause of David 
C. Broderick, an ardent Democrat but a strong anti-slavery man. 
Broderick was regarded as the leader of the "regular" faction of 
the party in California and rallied around him all who were opposed 
to the domination of Southern men in the party councils. The 
anti-Broderick faction were designated by their opponents as the 
" custom-house party," on account of the large share of Federal 
offices that fell to them, and they were under the leadership of 
Senator Gwin, formerly of Mississippi.^ If the various character- 
izations of Walker as the apostle of slavery were true, we should 
find him enrolling under the banners of the Gwin faction, and the 
fact that he is found in the opposing camp is at least significant. 
There was at this time, however, no sharp sectional alignment in 
California politics, and many Southerners were zealous supporters 
of Broderick the free-soiler, while Northern men were among his 
bitterest foes.^ Edmund Randolph, Walker's friend, though an 
ardent pro-slavery man, was also a supporter of Broderick. 

On July 18, 1854, the Democratic State convention met at Sacra- 
mento, and "Mr. Walker of Yuba" was one of the most prominent 

1 So many of the decayed Virginia gentry were provided with Federal offices at 
Gwin's disposal that the San Francisco custom house was jocularly referred to as the 
"Virginia poor house." 

2 Jeremiah Lynch, Life of David C. Broderick, 81. (New York, 1911.) 



delegates. The members assembled in the Baptist church, and 
each faction, ignoring the presence of the other, chose its own pre- 
siding officer and organized for its work. The two presiding officers 
sat side by side, put motions, ruled on points of order, and 
appointed committees without regard to each other's existence. 
This of course created terrific confusion, but as neither side would 
yield an inch the turmoil continued throughout the day. In the 
afternoon Walker, as a Broderick man, took the floor to make a 
speech and began to voice the free-soil sentiments of his leader. 
At this some hostile delegate shouted denunciation of free-soilers 
and abolitionists and precipitated still further uproar. During 
the confusion a pistol was accidentally discharged by some nervous 
delegate, who was handling his weapon in his belt so as to be ready 
for any emergency, and in the panic that followed many delegates 
leaped from the windows, but no one was injured. When quiet 
was restored, Walker resumed speaking, but the anti-Broderick 
forces hooted him into silence. The convention then dispersed, to 
meet the next day in separate halls, and the Broderick faction 
appointed a committee of compromise and conciliation. Walker 
was made chairman of the committee, and with his fellow members 
repaired to the meeting place of the other faction to bring about a 
reconciliation. All his overtures were rejected, and one irate 
member moved that Walker and his committeemen be thrown out 
of the window. Walker was also chairman of a committee to 
nominate permanent officers and a member of the committee to 
draft a platform and prepare an address to the Democracy of the 
State.* These facts show that his short career as a Sonoran fili- 
buster at least had its compensations in a political way, for it is 
doubtful if a man of his taciturn and retiring disposition would 
have received any such recognition at so turbulent a conven- 
tion without the generous advertising he had received from his 

1 James O'Meara, Broderick and Gioin, 98 f. (Saa Francisco, 1881) ; AUa 
California, July 20. 1854. 


invasion of Mexico. It is especially interesting at this time to see 
Walker denounced as an abolitionist on account of his allegiance 
to Broderick. This episode of his career has been overlooked. 

The great political question at this time was the Kansas- 
Nebraska bill. Walker's attitude on this issue may be seen from 
the following contribution appearing over his name in the San 
Francisco Commercial Advertiser: 

"Events are justifying the foresight of the Southern men who 
opposed the Nebraska-Kansas bill. The South is regularly ' done 
for' in the measure. She has, as many think, violated solemn 
promises and binding engagements. And to crown all, she has 
lost instead of gaining by the act. The North has thrown the odium 
of repeal of the Missouri Compromise on the South and has man- 
aged to get control of territory she would not otherwise have 
obtained. A few hot-headed and narrow-minded men have per- 
suaded the South into a course she already begins to repent of. 
Carried away by the passions of the moment, the slave States 
have been blinded to the consequences of the Nebraska-Kansas 
measure. It is too late now to repent. The North will have 
Kansas before Congress meets in December. 

" The consequences of the Nebraska-Kansas bill are only another 
illustration of the assertion frequently made by wise and moderate 
men from the South to the effect that ultra-slavery men are the 
most active and efficient agents abolitionists can have in the 
Southern States. The true friends of the South are those who 
repudiate the ideas and acts of the South Carolina school and who 
believe the true policy of the slave States is conservative and not 
aggressive. All agitation of slavery, whether North or South, 
only tends to fan the flame of abolitionism and make that formi- 
dable which would otherwise be contemptible." ^ 

Here we observe the same conservatism for which Walker had 
previously been noted while connected with the Crescent in New 

* Copied in the Sacramento Daily Democratic State Journal of Aug. 12, 1864. 


Orleans. He has only contempt for the radicals on both sides, 
the slavery propagandists as well as the abolitionists. Walker's 
views later underwent a radical change in this respect. Circum- 
stances which he could neither foresee nor control were to draw him 
closer and closer to the extreme position of the Southern party, 
until finally he was in complete harmony with the most advanced 
of the secession agitators. Walker's views in 1854 were radically 
different from those of 1858, but this change has been overlooked 
by most wTiters. They have read the motives of the Walker of 
'58 into the acts of the W^alker of '54, and the result has been a 
distorted picture. 

In addition to his political activities. Walker resumed his voca- 
tion of journalist. He at first assumed an editorial position on 
the Sacramento Democratic State Journal, a strong Broderick 
paper, but soon removed to San Francisco, where he became the 
editor of the Commercial Advertiser, One of the proprietors of this 
paper was a New Englander named Byron Cole, who had developed 
a keen interest in Nicaragua and succeeded in imparting some of 
this to Walker. Cole and Walker frequently discussed the condi- 
tion of the Central American republics, and it was Cole's opinion 
that Walker should abandon all idea of returning to Sonora and 
devote his attention to the American colonization of Nicaragua, 
which was better endowed with natural resources and better situ- 
ated geographically, and where the prospects of success seemed 
more favourable. The Commercial Advertiser was not a successful 
venture ; Cole sold out his interest in the paper, and upon its sus- 
pension Walker resumed his position with the Democratic State 
Journal in Sacramento. In the meantime Cole had sailed for 
Nicaragua on a mission fraught with great consequences for 

The Increasing Importance of Nicaragua 

Byron Cole was not the only American to become greatly 
interested in Nicaragua at this time. Since the treaty of Guada- 
lupe-Hidalgo in 1848 Central America had assumed a greatly 
increased importance in the eyes of the entire United States. The 
treaty had hardly been signed before gold was discovered in Cali- 
fornia, and this part of the newly acquired territory underwent a 
remarkable development which brought to the American govern- 
ment a new problem. In order to maintain the nation's integrity, 
it was necessary that unbroken communication should be secured 
between the component parts of the Union; and in the early 
fifties this was a difiicult matter, so far as California was concerned. 
The great expanse of unoccupied land between the States and the 
Pacific slope served to divide rather than unite the two sections. 
The journey across the plains or around Cape Horn was not only 
long and tedious but also fraught with great dangers, and in the 
search for a better route the attention of Americans was directed 
toward the Central American isthmus. Here two possible routes 
presented themselves, one across the isthmus of Panama and the 
other through Nicaragua. American enterprise soon made itself 
felt in both places : in Panama the construction of a railway con- 
necting the ports on the Atlantic and the Pacific was undertaken ; 
in Nicaragua the construction of a canal was contemplated, but 
when this proved to be not immediately practicable a substitute 
was devised by placing steamers on the San Juan River and Lake 
Nicaragua and enabling the passengers to make all but twelve 



miles of the trans-isthmian journey by water. Both routes were 
well patronized, and to and from the gold fields there flowed a 
constant stream of wide-awake, energetic travellers. Many of 
those who passed through Nicaragua were attracted by the luxuri- 
ant vegetation and the magnificent scenery of the country and 
could not help noting the scanty use which the natives were making 
of such lavish gifts of nature. For the mongrel population they 
had little but contempt; and especially was this true of those 
Americans who were returning from California, where they had 
learned to detest all " greasers." In many instances, too, this scorn 
was based on something more than mere race prejudice, as the 
constant revolutions caused the traveller no little inconvenience 
and made him long for the day when the United States should 
interpose a strong arm and establish law and order on the isthmus. 
Of this final outcome no American at that time expressed the 
slightest doubt, for it was then that the belief in the "manifest 
destiny" of the United States was strongest and the land hunger 
of its people sharpest. In the past fifty years they had devoured 
everything west of the Father of Waters and the appetite had only 
increased with the eating. 

Another land-hungry power, however, had been looking on with 
jealous eyes as the Americans began to take an increasing interest 
in Central America. Far-sighted English statesmen had seen that 
our war with Mexico would end with great gains of territory on 
the Pacific coast, and that this might result in American ascendency 
in the Pacific if the United States enjoyed quick and easy com- 
munication between its eastern and western parts. Fearing for 
her commercial supremacy in the Orient, Great Britain then began 
to throw such obstacles as she could in the way of interoceanic 
communication for the United States. At this time the only feas- 
ible route for a ship canal appeared to be through Nicaragua by 
way of the San Juan River and the lake. On February 17, 1848, 
therefore, England seized the town and harbour of San Juan del 


Norte commanding the mouth of this river, claiming that it lay 
within the territorial limits of the Mosquito Indians, over whom she 
was exercising a protectorate. How England came to exercise 
such a protectorate will be explained in a subsequent chapter. 
The Mosquito territory had been understood to extend from Cape 
Gracias a Dios only as far south as the Bluefields Lagoon, and this 
extension of the claim to the mouth of the San Juan River was 
regarded in the United States as merely a pretext for preventing 
the construction of a canal. There could have been no other reason 
for this action ; for, disregarding its geographic situation, the 
village of San Juan del Norte was one of the dreariest spots in the 
world. Travellers describe it as a mean collection of some fifty 
or sixty thatched houses, with a population of about three hundred 
persons of every shade of colour, but consisting mainly of Jamaica 
negroes with a few native Nicaraguans and an occasional European. 
A number were fugitives from justice, and very few owned any 
property or had any visible means of support. Its sole importance 
lay in the fact that it was the only Nicaraguan port on the Atlantic 
and apparently the only available place for the eastern terminus 
of the future canal. ^ 

In the eyes of the Americans the seizure of this port was a 
palpable violation of the Monroe Doctrine and it led to extensive 
diplomatic negotiations, which in 1850 were settled for the time 
being by the Clayton-Bulwer treaty. By this treaty the two 
powers agreed to join in the construction of a canal through 
Nicaragua over which neither would seek to obtain exclusive 
control, and they further declared that neither of them would 
"assume or exercise dominion over any part of Central America." 
A few days before the exchange of ratifications, however. Sir 

1 E. G. Squier, Nicaragua, pp. 47-50 (New York, 1860) ; British State Papers, 
XL VI., 868. Laurence Oliphant, the English traveller and newspaper correspond- 
ent, gives this contemporary impression: "How extended soever may have been 
the traveller's experience of dreary localities, Greytown must ever take a prominent 
place among his most doleful and gloomy reminiscences." Patriots and Filibusters, 
191. (Edinburgh, 1860.) 


Henry Bulwer notified Clayton, the American Secretary of State, 
that he did not understand the treaty to be renunciatory of any 
existing British dependencies. Clayton accepted his interpreta- 
tion, and Great Britain saw fit to maintain not only her protectorate 
over the Mosquito Coast but also her arbitrary interpretation of the 
boundaries of this region. San Juan del Norte was consequently 
made a "free city" and renamed Greytown. It claimed its 
independence by virtue of a grant from the Mosquito king. All 
its municipal regulations, port charges, and customs duties were 
determined by a mayor and council, who were mere creatures of 
the British consul.^ The latter was virtually a dictator. 

In 1851 this free, sovereign, and independent State of Greytown 
attempted to collect port duties from the steamers of the Accessory 
Transit Company, the corporation conveying passengers and 
freight between the Atlantic and Pacific ports of the United States 
via Nicaragua. When the company refused to pay, a British vessel 
fired on the Prometheus, one of its steamers. Across the harbour, 
on a low sandy spit known as Punta Arenas, the company had 
erected homes for its employees, and wharves, stores and ware- 
houses for equipping its steamers and supplying the wants of its 
passengers. The council claimed that this property lay within the 
"city" limits, and the citizens asked that the stores be removed 
to Greytown, where they could enjoy some of the passengers' 
trade. The company ignored the request, whereupon a mob 
crossed the harbour and destroyed some of the property and tore 
down and trampled the American flag. After this Greytown was 
boycotted by everyone connected with the Transit Company,^ and 
this only increased the ill-feeling. On February 3, 1853, the 
council passed a resolution ordering the company to remove within 
five days certain buildings it had just completed and to vacate the 
entire tract within thirty days, as it was the property of the "city" 

' Senate Ex. Doc, 8, 33 Cong., 1 Sese. ; American Whig Review, V., 191. 
» British State Papers, XLII., 207. 


and would be needed for its use. The company as usual ignored 
the demand and appealed for protection to an American man-of-war 
in the harbour. A boatload of armed men were sent over from 
Grey town to execute the orders of the council, but on landing they 
found the property guarded by American marines. Americans 
who entered the village were thereafter liable at any time to 
assault or insult by its miserable denizens.^ Matters went from 
bad to worse. On May 5, 1854, employees of the company chased 
across the harbour some thieves who had been pilfering the ware- 
house and seized one of them just as he was landing inGreytown. 
A party of men, well armed, came to the rescue, however, and 
drove the pursuers away. The next day a band of armed men 
crossed over from Greytown, seized the employee who had 
attempted to arrest one of the thieves, and carried him back as 
a prisoner. The company's agent, Joseph Scott, followed and 
sought to bail the man, but was also arrested. 

On May 16 the river steamer Routh came down the San Juan 
River with Mr. Solon Borland, the American minister, on board. 
On this trip the captain of the boat, named Smith, had an alter- 
cation with one of his negro boatmen and shot him. On arriving 
at Punta Arenas the Routh made fast to the ocean steamer Northern 
Light to transfer her passengers, and while this was taking place 
a native bungo containing about thirty Jamaica negroes pulled 
alongside and a "marshal" announced his purpose of arresting the 
captain. The latter procured his gun and made ready to fight. 
Minister Borland then appeared and told the negroes that the 
American government had never recognized the right of the Grey- 
town authorities to arrest American citizens, and ordered them to 
leave. Several negroes rushed for the steamer, brandishing their 
weapons and using threatening language, but Borland seized a 
gun and stepping over the railing, told them that if they boarded 
the vessel it would be at the peril of their lives. This had the 

1 Bntish State Papers, XLVII., 1006 fif. 


desired effect, and the bungo returned to Greytown. That night 
Borland was rowed over to the village to visit the United States 
commercial agent, Joseph W. Fabens. During the visit a mob 
surrounded the house, and their leader, a negro, declared that 
they had come to arrest the American minister. Borland then 
attempted to address the mob and was struck and cut in the face 
by a broken bottle. He was held a prisoner in the house all night, 
and the next morning when a party of men from the Northern Light 
embarked for his rescue they were fired upon and not allowed to 
land. On the second morning the negroes had quieted sufficiently 
to permit Borland to return to the steamer. On reaching the United 
States he laid his case before Secretary Marcy. 

The Secretary, however, found this a perplexing problem. On 
the day following the attack on Borland every officer in Greytown 
had resigned his position, and the municipality became practically 
non-extant. There were no authorities of whom to exact repara- 
tion or to inflict punishment upon any individuals who were 
responsible for the insults. Many of the ringleaders also found it 
expedient to return to Jamaica. The United States man-of-war 
Cyane, Commander George H. Hollins, was despatched to Grey- 
town to demand satisfaction. The instructions to Hollins were 
necessarily somewhat indefinite ; he was to consult with the com- 
mercial agent, Fabens, and learn the true condition of affairs ; it 
was desirable that these people should be taught that the United 
States would not tolerate such outrages, but it was also desired 
that this should be done without destruction of property and loss 
of life. The department, however, would trust much to Hollins's 
prudence and good sense. 

Fabens in the meantime was instructed by the Department of 
State to notify the people of Greytown that his government would 
demand payment for the property taken with their connivance and 
also protection thereafter for the Accessory Transit Company. As 
there was no official government, he addressed the communication 


on June 24 "To those now or lately pretending to and exercising 
authority in San Juan del Norte." On July 1 1 , after a consultation 
with Hollins, who had just arrived, he repeated the communication 
and added to it a demand for an apology to Hollins and satisfactory 
assurances of future good behaviour toward the United States and 
her functionaries. No attention whatever was paid to Fabens's 
demands other than insolent rejoinders from a few individuals. 
The British war schooner Bermuda was in the harbour at the time, 
and this seemed to the population an ample guarantee against 
molestation by an American officer. There can be little doubt 
that all the trouble was instigated by the British consul and the 
ever-present naval officers. 

Hollins now had only one of three courses to follow : he must 
sit still and swallow the insults; or sail away with his mission 
unaccomplished ; or turn his guns on the town. The last seemed 
the only course that would not detract from his nation's dignity, 
and on the morning of June 12 he gave notice that if Fabens's 
demands were not complied with within twenty-four hours he 
would bombard the town. The British vice-consul and Lieutenant 
Jolly of H. M. S. Bermuda both protested ; the latter expressing 
regret that "the force under my command is so totally inadequate 
against the Cyane, that I can only enter this my protest." Hollins 
replied that he regretted exceedingly that "the force under your 
command is not doubly equal that of the Cyane." At daylight 
the next day Hollins sent in a steamer to take away all who would 
leave, and at nine o'clock the firing began. At four in the after- 
noon a force was landed to complete the destruction of the town 
by fire. Practically everything in the wretched place, except 
the property of a Frenchman who had protested against the 
inhabitants' misdeeds, was destroyed, but no lives were lost.^ It 
was a pitiable spectacle to see a great republic wasting its powder 
on the miserable huts of these outlaws, while the real offenders 

» British State Pap&ra, XLVI., 859-88. 


against its dignity sat quietly by under the protecting folds of the 
Union Jack. It was a vicarious punishment. The guns of the 
Cyane might with more justice have been turned upon the insti- 
gators of all the trouble. 

Great Britain maintained its claim to a protectorate over the 
Mosquito Coast until 1856.^ The facts in connection therewith 
have been given at length in order to convey some idea of the 
resentment that developed in the minds of the American people 
as a result of British aggression in Central America. This hostility 
to England was not without its effect upon the attitude of large 
numbers of Americans toward the entrance of Walker into Nica- 
ragua. When he entered the country the facts just narrated were 
still fresh in men's minds, and any movement tending to check 
the pretensions of Great Britain on the isthmus was sure to meet 
with some favour in all parts of the United States. 

In spite of British intrigue and arrogance, American influence 
made itself felt in Nicaragua in no small degree. It was the enter- 
prise of the American capitalist, however, and not of the American 
diplomat that achieved such a result. The importance of Nica- 
ragua to the United States as a consequence of the Mexican War and 
the discovery of gold in California has already been indicated. 
With the first rush of adventurers to the gold fields the question 
of an interoceanic canal aroused great interest. A prime mover 
in the promotion of this canal was Cornelius Vanderbilt, the great- 
est captain of industry of his time. At this time the Pacific Mail 
Steamship Company had a monopoly of the transportation service 
via the isthmus, sending its vessels from New York to Aspinwall 
and from Panama to San Francisco. A company had been organ- 
ized in 1850 to construct a railway across the isthmus of Panama, 
and after enormous expense and great loss of life the road was 

» For an account of this controversy between Great Britain and the United 
States, see I. B. Travis, History of the Clayton-Bvlwer Treaty (Ann Arbor, 1900) ; 
and L. M. Keasbey, Nicaragua Canal and the Monroe Doctrine (New York, 1896). 


completed in 1855. While the Panama company was developing 
its business, Vanderbilt and his associates were busy with plans 
for a rival route through Nicaragua. In 1849 he with Joseph L. 
White and Nathaniel J. Wolfe organized the American Atlantic 
and Pacific Ship Canal Company and secured a charter from the 
republic of Nicaragua giving the company a right of way through 
the country and the exclusive right to construct the canal. In 
1850 Vanderbilt visited England to secure the cooperation of 
British capitalists in financing the undertaking, and they agreed 
to assist in the project if fuller surveys should show that it was 
practicable. The new surveys were made and indicated that the 
waters in the lake were insufficient to make the construction feas- 
ible. The earlier surveys were shown to have been inaccurate. 
The scheme for a canal was then abandoned, but Vanderbilt and 
his associates obtained a new charter for another corporation, 
styled the Accessory Transit Company, which was " grafted on the 
body" of the American Atlantic and Pacific Ship Canal Company. 
This Accessory Transit Company received a right of way between 
the oceans and the monopoly of navigating the waters of the State 
by steam. Vanderbilt was president of the company, and he soon 
made it a formidable competitor of the Panama line. Shortly 
after returning from England he proceeded to Nicaragua, where 
for several weeks he directed soundings on the river and lake and 
satisfied himself that a steamship route from San Juan del Norte 
to the western shore of Lake Nicaragua was entirely practicable. 
He had planned at first to make Realejo the Pacific port, but found 
a new and unnamed harbour at a more convenient point, which 
became San Juan del Sur. From this point to the lake the distance 
was only twelve miles, and he planned to connect the lake and the 
ocean with a macadamized road. After his return home he sent 
down two small steamboats for the river and a larger boat for the 
lake. He also despatched three steamers to the Pacific, and was 
soon ready to carry passengers to and from California. Another 


steamer which he had constructed for the lake he was told by his 
engineers could never be conveyed up the river on account of the 
rapids. Vanderbilt thereupon went to Greytown with the boat 
and himself conveyed her over the rapids. New ocean steamers 
were built in 1852, and an additional line from New Orleans to 
Greytown was inaugurated.^ 

Passengers at Greytown would proceed up the river in boats 
of light draft until they reached the lake. There, at a point called 
San Carlos, they would transfer to larger steamers provided with 
comfortable state-rooms and^cross the lake to the town of Virgin 
Bay. Next there would be before them a twelve-mile ride by land 
to San Juan del Sur, where they would take the steamer for San 
Francisco. This ride at first was made on mules over a bridle path 
through a very rugged country, and the discomforts were serious, 
especially for women and children.^ In 1854, however, the 
macadamized road was completed, and comfortable carriages were 
placed upon it. Each of these was painted in the national colours 
of Nicaragua, white and blue, and was drawn by four mules. The 
vehicles would move in a line of twenty-five at a time, carrying 
the passengers of the latest ship to arrive, and being followed by 
many wagons conveying freight and baggage.^ This of itself was 
an impressive sight, and the scenery along the route was another 

The new interoceanic route was completed in the face of tre- 
mendous difficulties, with no governmental favours and in spite 

^Harper's Weekly, III.. 146; F. Belly, A Travers VAmhique Centrale, II., 96 
(Paris, 1867) ; Wm. A. Croffutt, The Vanderhilta and the Story of their Fortune, 
43 ff. (Chicago, 1886.) 

« Mrs. Alfred Hart, in Via Nicaragua: A Sketch of Travel (London, 1887), de- 
scribes the transit line across Nicaragua when it was first inaugurated. There 
was then much hardship, no decent accommodations on the river or lake boats, and 
only a bridle-path from Virgin Bay to the Pacific. Three years later, on a second 
journey, she found conditions much improved. See also Memoirs of General 
William T. Sherman (N. Y., 1875), I, 94 f. 

» H. H. Bancroft, Chronicles of the Builders of the Commonwealth, V., 386-95. 
(San Francisco, 1891.) 


of the opposition of a powerful competitor. As a result of compe- 
tition the fare between New York and San Francisco was reduced 
from six hundred to three hundred dollars, and travel by sea be- 
tween East and West was further stimulated. By the Nicaraguan 
route the distance was reduced somewhat over five hundred miles, 
and the average time saved was about two days.^ When the com- 
pany was at the height of its prosperity it would transport as many 
as two thousand Americans through Nicaragua in the course of a 
single month. 

These facts in connection with the history of the Accessory 
Transit Company have necessarily been given in considerable detail 
because of the intimate relation of this corporation to the rise 
and fall of Walker in Nicaragua. The existence of the company 
drew the attention of the filibusters to Nicaragua ; its favouritism 
is responsible for whatever success they achieved while there, and 
its hostility compassed their downfall. 

1 E. G. Squier, Honduras, 241-250. (London, 1870.) 

The Sailing of "The Immortals" 

If we are to have a clear understanding of the conditions lead- 
ing to Walker's invasion of Nicaragua, we must take into consider- 
ation the politicaLcondition of that country as well as its geograph- 
ical importance. \ The five States of Central America declared 
their independence of Spain in 1821 and in 1824 established a 
republic modelled after that of the United States. This union 
maintained a precarious existence, being dissolved in 1826, re- 
established in 1829, unsettled by revolutions from 1830 to 1840, 
abolished, then partly restored in 1851, and at length pennanently 
dissolved in 1852. From 1830 to 1855 the State of Nicaragua 
suffered from constant revolution.^y 

The people had been brought up under a highly despotic colonial 
regime, and had never had an opportunity to learn the lessons 
of self-government. It is doubtful, moreover, whether such a 
heterogeneous population could have ever developed into a de- 
mocracy. The total population of Nicaragua in 1850 was esti- 
mated at 260,000. One-half of these were of mixed Spanish-Indian 
descent, a third were pure-blooded Indians, a tenth were whites, 
and the rest were negroes.^ The people as a whole were proud, 
ignorant, and intolerant, and were given to violent factionalism 
which was based on no real principles. Class feeling played its 
part and served to aggravate the strife. There were two parties, 
the Liberal, or democratic, and the Legitimist, or aristocratic. 
These may once have stood for what each professed to advocate, 

> H. H. Bancroft, Central America, Vol. III., passim. (San Francisco, 1887.) 
* Squier, Nicaragua, 648 ; Dvblin Review, XLIII., 361. 



but by 1850 they had degenerated into "ins" and "outs." Sec- 
tional jealousies also played a part in the struggles. Granada, 
the largest city, was the Legitimist stronghold and dominated the 
southern half of the republic ; and it was natural, then, that 
Granada's rival, the city of Leon, should become the headquarters 
of the Liberal faction and dominate the politics of the North. 
When the Liberals were triumphant they transferred the seat of 
government to Leon ; with their downfall Granada would again 
become the capital. The party which for the time being was 
triumphant did not stop at victory, but resorted to wholesale 
proscriptions of its opponents. Neither faction hesitated at 
confiscation, exile, or assassination, if such seemed likely to 
strengthen its precarious tenure of power. Opposition to the 
existing government was dangerous, and since it did not dare 
show itself in the open it was compelled to compass its ends by 
methods dark and treasonable. Any one who would change the 
existing status, even though his motives were the noblest, be- 
came perforce a conspirator, mayhap a traitor. During a period 
of six years Nicaragua had had no fewer than fifteen presidents. 
Moreover, there was little hope for improvement. In 1855 the 
old generation which had lived under the restraints of Spanish 
rule was dying out, and a new generation, reared in an environ- 
ment of bloodshed and revolution, had come to years of maturity 
if not of discretion. 

The disastrous effects of the constant turmoil made a vivid 
impression upon all visitors and travellers in the country, and 
none were quicker to observe the widespread disorder and desola- 
tion than the Transit Company's passengers. They beheld de- 
serted fields, abandoned houses, and churches whose walls were 
marred by shell and bullet as a result of their use as fortresses. 
On visiting any of the near-by towns while awaiting a steamer 
they were apt to find the plaza barricaded and a sentry to chal- 
lenge them at every street corner. Reports of such conditions 


were carried to the States, and it is not surprising that Nicaragua 
tempted private adventurers to flock thither in search of fortune 
and excitement. 

As has already been shown, one of the Americans thus interested 
in Nicaragua was Walker's friend and associate, Byron Cole. On 
the 15th of August, 1854, Cole sailed on the Transit steamer for 
San Juan del Sur to see what American enterprise might accomplish 
in Nicaragua. He was accompanied on this trip by another New 
Englander, William V. Wells, a grandson of Samuel Adams. 
Wells was making the trip as the agent of the Honduras Mining 
and Trading Company, which had received a large grant of land 
in the department of Olancho and was planning to develop the 
gold placers on its holdings and promote commercial intercourse 
between Honduras and the United States. Cole was also inter- 
ested in the promotion of this enterprise, but his main purpose at 
present was to look into conditions in Nicaragua.^ After landing 
at San Juan del Sur these two Americans proceeded to Leon, 
where they parted. Wells going on to Honduras, and Cole remain- 
ing in Nicaragua. 

At this time Nicaragua was in the throes of one of its periodic 
revolutions, and Leon as usual was the headquarters of the 
Liberal party, which on this occasion constituted the "outs." A 
word concerning the native actors in this revolution is necessary. 
In 1853 a president had died a natural death, and in the election 
that followed the successful candidate was Fruto Chamorro, the 
most aggressive of the Legitimists and the head of a very large 
and influential Granada family. The Leonese naturally could 
not stomach such a choice; and the new president, seeing their 
disaffection, banished their more prominent leaders, including his 
recent opponent for the presidency, Francisco Castellon. Cha- 
morro next sought to make his tenure of office still more secure by 
calling a constitutional convention, which increased his term from 

» Wheeler Scrapbook no. 6, pp. 17, 54 ; Wells, Walker's Expedition, 41. 


two to four years and in various other ways strengthened the 
powers of the executive. The new constitution, instead of ac- 
complishing the desired purposes, merely precipitated another 
revolution, with the result that Castellon and his banished com- 
panions, who had taken refuge with the Liberal president of 
Honduras, General Trinidad Cabanas, returned to Nicaragua, 
rallied their former supporters, and soon were besieging Chamorro 
in Granada. The constitution of 1854 was made the pretext for 
these hostilities. Castellon and his followers avowed their sup- 
port of the constitution of 1838, styled themselves Democrats, 
and adopted the red ribbon as their emblem. The Legitimists 
supported the new constitution and adopted the white ribbon as 
their party badge.^ In spite of aid from President Cabanas of 
Honduras, the struggle went against the Democrats, and in 
January, 1855, they were compelled to abandon the siege of 
Granada, which they had conducted in a very desultory fashion 
for six months, and retreat to Leon. Matters became still worse 
when Cabanas, who was on the verge of a war with Guatemala, 
withdrew his contingent of troops and left the Democrats to 
shift for themselves. Their leaders were left with only one ray 
of hope. While the revolution was at its height Castellon had 
made two contracts with Byron Cole, by which he had authorized 
the latter to bring a detachment of Americans to Nicaragua to 
take service in the Democratic army. The first of these con- 
tracts, made in the autumn of 1854, had authorized Cole to secure 
three hundred men for military duty and had stipulated regular 
payment for their services and a grant of land at the end of the 
campaign. Cole hastened to California and submitted the con- 
tract to Walker. The lawyer's eye saw that its language was 
too bold, and that action under it would constitute a literal vio- 

1 F. Belly, A Travers VAmirique Centrale, I., 268-73 ; Blackwood's Magazine, 
XLII., 317-18; Dublin Review, XLIII., 367; Wells, Walker's Expedition, 314; 
C. W. Doubleday, Reminiscences of the "Filibuster " War, ch. 3 (New York, 1886) ; 
Walker, War in Nicaragua, ch. 1 ; American Whig Review, VI., 337 fif. 


lation of the neutrality laws and involve the participants in endless 
legal diflSculties with the Federal government. He therefore de- 
dined to act under it, but suggested to Cole that if he returned 
to Nicaragua and secured a colonization grant "something might 
be done with it." ^ Cole thereupon returned to Nicaragua and 
executed a second contract, which provided for the introduction 
into Nicaragua of three hundred colonists, who were to have 
forever the privilege of bearing arms. This document was signed 
December 29, 1854, and reached Walker at Sacramento early in 
the following February. Walker now gave up his newspaper 
work and went to San Francisco, where he busied himself with 
preparations for his second filibustering expedition. 

The times were so propitious for an undertaking of this kind 
that Nicaragua in all probability would have been invaded by 
an expedition from California even if Walker had never lived. 
While Walker was at work on his project in San Francisco he met 
his old schoolmate Henry Crabb, who had just returned from a 
visit to the East and who had been contemplating a scheme 
similar to that which Walker had in mind. This idea had oc- 
curred to Crabb while crossing Nicaragua on his way to Cin- 
cinnati, and during his visit to the Atlantic States he had suc- 
ceeded in arousing the interest of Thomas F. Fisher, of New 
Orleans, and Captain C. C. Hornsby, a Mexican War veteran, in 
his plans. Hornsby had been sergeant-at-arms in the California 
legislature when Crabb was a member of that body. These men 
left New Orleans together in January, 1855, and on their way to 
Greytown they persuaded Julius De Brissot to join them. All 
of these but Crabb remained in Nicaragua and undertook to 
make contracts with the Democratic leaders to engage Ameri- 
cans for service in Nicaragua. Fisher visited General Jerez, the 
Democratic leader, in his camp at Jalteva, and contracted with 
him to bring five hundred men to Nicaragua with liberal pay for 

» Walker, War in Nicaragtia, 26. 


their services in land and money. Hornsby and De Brissot at 
the same time entered into an agreement with Espinosa, the gov- 
ernor of Rivas, to wrest the control of the San Juan River from the 
Legitimists. Crabb in the meantime retm*ned to California and 
there he soon developed political ambitions to such an extent that 
he lost all personal interest in the Nicaraguan enterprise, and 
when Fisher arrived, bringing his contract with Jerez, Crabb 
offered it to Walker. The latter, however, preferred his contract 
with Castellon and declined the proffer. Meanwhile Hornsby 
and De Brissot had been worsted in their attempt to seize 
the stronghold of Castillo Viejo on the San Juan, and they too 
shortly appeared in San Francisco, where they joined Walker in 
his enterprise. Fisher later followed suit. Crabb remained 
only an interested observer, but as will appear later, he himself 
was eventually to lead an expedition into Sonora.^ 

Four months passed before Walker was able to set forth on his 
new adventure, and these were months of weary waiting and 
heart-rending disappointment. His chief difficulties this time 
were financial rather than legal ; for the government seemed in- 
disposed to interfere. Walker presented his contract to District 
Attorney Inge, who gave an opinion that action under it would 
not be in violation of the neutrality laws. General Wool, who 
had proved such a thorn in the side of the Sonoran filibusters, 
next remained to be consulted, and to Walker's relief the old 
soldier stated that he had no authority to interfere unless re- 
quested to do so by the civil officers.^ 

^ Jeronimo Perez, Memorias para la Historia de la Revoludon de Nicaragua y de la 
Guerra contra los Filibusteros, 1854 a 1867, pt. 1, 136-7 (Managua, 1857) ; Walker, 
War in Nicaragtta, 24-27. 

* The accounts of this meeting between Walker and Wool are related by them- 
selves. Between them there is some discrepancy. Wool states that he told Walker 
that even if the expedition were unlawful he had no authority to interfere until 
asked to do so by the civil ofl&cers, and gives as his reason for so acting the inter- 
pretation of his instructions by the Secretary of War. See New York Times, 
July 23, 1857. Walker, however, says that Wool not only promised non-inter- 
ference but shook hands with him as they parted and wished him success. See 


Money was the next consideration, and it was procured in 
such small amounts that the expedition had to be provided for 
on a most economical scale. The men accepted for the expedition 
were a picked lot who had already been tried with fire. Some of 
them, like Hornsby and Frank P. Anderson, had served through 
the Mexican War; others, Uke Achilles Kewen, had followed 
Lopez in his ill-fated expedition to Cuba; and even Timothy 
Crocker, who had endured all the hardships of Walker's campaign 
in Lower California, was still in a filibustering humour and ready 
for whatever fate had in store for him in Nicaragua. Still an- 
other interesting member of this band was a physician, Dr. Alex- 
ander Jones, who had recently returned from a very romantic 
exi)edition to Coco Island in quest of buried treasure. It seems 
that one of his patients, whom he had treated successfully, out of 
gratitude had given the doctor certain papers purporting to reveal 
the exact spot where some fifteen million dollars of pirate loot 
had been buried. The gold hunters got only bitter experience 
for their reward.^ In making his preparations Walker had the 
constant aid of Edmund Randolph and Alexander P. Crittenden.^ 

War in Nicaragua, p. 28. Wool's reprimand by Davis has already been referred 
to in Chapter V. 

^ Alta California, Jan. 12, 1855. Such gold hunting exi>edition8 to the island 
were frequently repeated ; one as late as 1912. 

» Crittenden was a native of Kentucky and a member of the first California 
legislature in 1850, when he sought unsuccessfully the position of speaker of the 
House. In 1857 he was a candidate for the United States Senate. After the Civil 
War he was a law partner of S. M. Wilson, a noted California attorney. He was 
murdered in 1870 by a woman he was alleged to have wronged. Hittell, Califomia, 
III., 785-7 ; IV., 90, 202, 515-16. 

Edmund Randolph was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1819. He graduated 
from William and Mary College, studied law at the University of Virginia, and was 
admitted to the bar in New Orleans. He served there as clerk of the United States 
Circuit Court, and in 1849 went to San Francisco. He, like Crittenden, was a 
member of the first legislature, and the two sought to secure the adoption of the 
civil code for California in place of the common law. In 1860 he was the candidate 
of the anti-Lecompton Democrats for the United States Senate. In 1861 he was an 
ardent Union man until his native State seceded. His sentiments thereupon 
changed, but he was then mortally ill and died in September of that year. O. T. 
Shuck, Bench and Bar in California, 261 (San Francisco, 1889) ; Bancroft, History 
of California, VI., 679 n. ; Hittell, California, II., 806 ; III., 785 ; IV., 287-88. 


Joseph C. Palmer, of the prominent banking house of Palmer, 
Cook and Company, proved a friend in need by contributing one 
thousand dollars. It is also worth noting that Colonel John C. 
Fremont, who had once crossed the isthmus by way of Nica- 
ragua, likewise manifested much interest. 

Walker received one proposal of aid from an unexpected quar- 
ter. In Sacramento at this time there was a rival paper to the 
Democratic State Journal, which issued from the press under the 
name of the State Tribune. Its editor was Parker H. French, 
who had arrived in California about 1852, under very suspicious 
circumstances. No one in California in those days, however, 
scrutinized too closely his neighbour's past, and as French was a 
clever and polished individual, he secured a seat in the legislature. 
All who had financial dealings with French had cause to regret it, 
and he soon acquired the reputation of being one of the cleverest 
rascals on the Pacific coast. Moreover, he was a megalomaniac. 
It was his morbid desire to do big things that accounted for his 
presence in California. Constantly devising great enterprises 
and with his oily tongue easily persuading large numbers of people 
to enter into his schemes, he lacked the honesty and strength of 
purpose to carry his plans to a successful conclusion, and usually 
abandoned the undertaking as soon as he had filched from his 
associates all the money they were willing to entrust to his care. 
Between him and Walker there had never been any intimacy. 
In fact, the paper with which the latter had been connected had 
attacked French very sharply on more than one occasion,^ and 
Walker was somewhat surprised when French approached him 
with an offer of cooperation. He claimed that he had great 
influence with C. K. Garrison, the San Francisco manager of the 
Transit Company, and that he had already interested him in the 
expedition, as it was bound to affect the situation of the corpo- 

^ In'March, 1855, French was accidentally shot in the leg while trying to separate 
two quarrelling companions in a steamboat bar. A few days after the accident the 
State Journal expressed its gratification that French was recovering slowly. 


ration in Nicaragua. This was another instance of French's 
megalomania. Whether or not Garrison were interested, he did 
not lift a finger in aid of the expedition, though his later relations 
with Walker, to be presently described, may have been a result 
of French's suggestions at this time. This meeting between 
Walker and French was not to be the end of their relations. The 
latter was to make his appearance in Nicaragua on more than one 
occasion and to affect the fortunes of the filibuster leader im- 
measurably for both good and ill. 

In the midst of his preparations Walker became engaged in a 
controversy with a former resident of Sacramento named W. H. 
Carter, and the quarrel ended in a duel on March 15, fought with 
pistols at eight paces. Walker was wounded in the foot, and the 
injury confined him to his room for some time and delayed his 
preparations for sailing.^ When he left San Francisco, seven 
weeks after the affray, the wound still gave him trouble. 

To secure a vessel was no easy matter, but at length the Vesta, 
a leaky old brig which had weathered the waves for twenty-nine 
years, was chartered, and the men and their supplies were placed 
safely on board. When everything was in readiness for sailing 
the sheriff appeared with a writ of attachment and seized the 
vessel for a debt due by its owner. A posse was placed on board 
to prevent the brig's departure, and the sheriff as a matter of 
further precaution took away the sails of the vessel. Misfortunes 
did not come singly. Provisions had been secured from dealers 
who had agreed to accept Nicaraguan stock in payment. They 
now changed their minds and demanded cash. Failing to get 
this, they libelled the vessel, and the United States marshal 
served the writ and placed a revenue cutter astern of the Vesta 
to prevent her leaving port. With Federal and State officers 

J Philadelphia Daily News, April 9, 1855. B. C. Trueman in his Field of Honor 
(New York, 1884) credits Walker with two additional duels, one fought in New 
Orleans with an editor named Kennedy and another in San Francisco in January, 
1851, with Graham Hicks. 


both guarding the ship and with the sails unbent and stored on 
shore, the chances of the Vesta's departure seemed slim indeed, 
and Walker's eventual escape from so many entanglements is 
very creditable to his ingenuity and persistence. It happened 
that the creditor who had seized the vessel for debt was a warm 
friend of Henry Crabb, and this proved a means of friendly ap- 
proach and of persuasion to release the vessel on easy terms. It 
was seen that the merchants who had supplied the vessel with 
provisions had libelled it at the instigation of the owner, who 
after getting into trouble himself was disposed to make trouble 
for others. In his case intimidation was employed and he was 
led to believe that the reckless men would make it unsafe for him 
if they were compelled to stay in San Francisco much longer. 
The libel was therefore dismissed. There was, however, still 
more trouble ahead. The sheriff demanded the payment of his 
fees, amounting to three hundred dollars, before he would sur- 
render the sails. He was kept in ignorance, however, of the 
dismissal of the Federal writ and believing that the revenue cutter 
was still guarding the Vesta he consented to return the canvas. 
Nevertheless he kept a deputy on board to watch for any sus- 
picious movement. After the commander of the revenue cutter 
was notified that the brig was no longer to be detained a friendly 
officer of that vessel kindly lent Walker the services of its sailors 
to bend on the sails. In the meantime the sheriff's deputy had 
been enticed into the cabin, and was regaled with liquor and 
cigars while the work of bending the sails went silently on.^ 
Shortly after midnight the work was completed, and a steam tug 

1 According to the story commonly reported at the'time'of the Vesta*8 departure, 
the deputy was informed, as soon as he entered the cabin, that he would be detained 
there for a time as a prisoner, as the vessel was going to sea that night. "There, 
sir," Walker is reported to have said in his drawling voice, "are cigars and cham- 
pagne ; and there are handcuffs and irons. Pray take your choice." The deputy, 
who had been a member of the California legislature and was of a somewhat philo- 
Bophical turn of mind, was not handcuffed. Harper's Weekly, I., 332 ; New York 
Herald, June 2, 1855. 


came alongside and took the vessel in tow. After towing the 
Vesta outside the Heads, the tug cast her off, and taking the deputy 
sheriff on board steamed back to port. The Vesta spread her 
sails and stood out to sea, carrying fifty-eight men (afterwards 
styled "the Immortals") for service in Nicaragua.^ This was 
early on the morning of May 4, 1855. 

The incidents connected with Walker's departure have been 
given in what is perhaps tedious detail, but this has been done 
purposely. The financial diflBculties of the expeditionists at this 
time are ample refutation of a subsequent assertion, frequently 
repeated, that the whole movement was inaugurated by oflScials 
of the Accessory Transit Company. It is inconceivable that 
that corporation should have undertaken any enterprise on so 
pitiful a scale.^ 

While the events just narrated were taking place in San Fran- 
cisco, another movement upon Nicaragua was being planned in 
the Atlantic States, and the day for its departure had been set 
for May 7, just three days after the sailing of the Vesta. This 
was the expedition of Colonel Henry L. Kinney, to be described 
in the following chapter. It was a common supposition at this 
time that Walker and Kinney had some kind of an understanding 
and were planning to sail simultaneously and effect a junction 
at some convenient point in Nicaragua.' Such an idea, as will be 
shown later, was erroneous, but the Kinney enterprise only fur- 
ther substantiates the statement already made, that Nicaragua 
would have suffered an invasion from the United States whether 
or no there had ever been a William Walker. 

* The number actually carried waa fifty-eight, though the newspaper accounts 
at the time gave it as fifty-six. For some reason, which it is useless to try to explain, 
the number reported by the papers became commonly accepted even by the men 
themselves, who gloried afterward as belonging to the "Fifty-six Immortals." 

« The New York Herald, Nov. 29, 1856, says that the idea of inviting Walker to 
Nicaragua did not originate with a belligerent faction there, but was "a brilliant 
idea of the managers and principal agents of the Transit Company." 

» New York Herald, June 6, 1855. 


The Mosquito Kingdom and Colonel Kinney 

Colonel Kinney was acting under a grant which had come 
to him indirectly from one of the ebon sovereigns of the Kingdom 
of Mosquitia, and thereby hangs an interesting story. The Mos- 
quito Shore was originally a strip of coast about two hundred 
miles in length, extending from Cape Gracias a Dios to the Blue- 
fields Lagoon. As it was a low, marshy, and uninviting region, 
it offered no attractions to the Spanish adventurers of the six- 
teenth century, who were seeking gold and silver and therefore 
settled elsewhere. Missionaries visited the region, but the native 
population was so sparse, and of such inferior intelligence, that 
they transferred their activities to more promising fields. In 
the next century the buccaneers found the region useful for their 
purposes. The much-broken and uncharted shore line, with its 
numerous islands and streams, enabled them in their light-draft 
boats easily to avoid pursuit by any vessel of war; and from 
their hiding places they could readily fall upon any luckless gal- 
leon that came their way. Fugitive slaves from the- West Indian 
plantations added a new element to the population, which was 
further increased by the wreck of a slave-ship on the coast with 
a large cargo of Africans. A few Jamaican planters also attempted 
to form settlements and brought over a number of slaves with 
them.^ In the course of time, therefore, the natives, always 
designated as Mosquito Indians, were really an intricate mixture 
of Indian and negro, with now and then a strain of blood of pirate 
or of Jamaican planter. The pirates themselves were mainly 

1 Travis, Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, 17 ff. ; Squier, Waikna, passim. 
H 93 


English, and were generally unmolested if they were willing to 
share a reasonable amount of their booty with the Jamaican 
governors. Graft is as old as humanity itself. 

As the English element was largely in the ascendant, it was 
inevitable that the idea of annexation should occur, and in 1687 
a governor of Jamaica took the initiative in a peculiar way. He 
caused one of the chiefs to be carried to Jamaica, where he was 
kindly but somewhat forcibly clad in European garments and 
designated as King of the Mosquitoes. Solemn coronation cere- 
monies were arranged for the sable sovereign, but the programme 
was somewhat upset when the worthy potentate, unappreciative 
of the greatness thrust upon him, eluded his guardians, divested 
himself of the superfluous clothing, and ensconced himself in the 
branches of a tall tree, safe from all pursuit. After many entreaties 
he came down, and as a sort of ironical concession to the weakness 
of the white man he accepted a cocked hat and a paper commis- 
sioning him as king. The king next was required to place his 
realms personally under the protection of the British Crown. 
Half a century was to elapse before the English again interfered. 
In 1740, while England and Spain were at war, the governor of 
Jamaica commissioned Robert Hodgson to take possession of the 
Mosquito Territory and arouse the natives against the Spanish 
settlements in the vicinity. Hodgson visited the country, raised 
the British flag, and after filling the chiefs with rum made a kind 
of treaty with them by which they recognized British suzerainty. 

Spain protested at English pretensions on the Mosquito Coast, 
and after prolonged negotiations the British government in 1786 
abandoned its claims. With the downfall of Spanish rule in 
Central America, however, England again asserted her preten- 
sions to dominion over the Mosquito Indians, and the Sambo 
Kingdom was revived in great style.^ One of the chiefs who 

> The word " Sambo " was applied on the Mosquito coast to individuals of mixed 
Indian and negro blood. At this time it was frequently written "Zambo." 


seemed to ,possess the desired qualities in greatest degree was 
taken to Belize, in British Honduras, where emblems of royalty, 
consisting of " a silver-gilt crown, a sword, and a sceptre of mod- 
erate value" were secured to add to the impressiveness of the 
coronation ceremonies. These modern Warwicks, however, were 
sorely disappointed in their choice for sovereign, as he combined 
within himself "the bad qualities of the European and Creole, 
with the vicious propensities of the Sambo and the capriciousness 
of the Indian." It was perhaps with great relief that this mon- 
arch's sponsors learned in 1824 that he had been killed in a drunken 
brawl. Two other kings succeeded within the course of a year 
and gave no better satisfaction, and on April 23, 1825, another, 
who took the title of Robert Charles Frederick, was crowned with 
all solemnity at Belize. It is the doings of this monarch with 
which we are concerned in relating the story of the expedition of 
Colonel Kinney. 

The ceremonies attendant upon the coronation of Robert 
Charles Frederick have been narrated by an eyewitness, and at 
the risk of digressing from the main story they will be briefly 
described, as they afford a striking commentary upon British 
pretensions in Nicaragua. The coronation took place at the 
church, following a procession, which began at the court-house. 
King Robert rode a horse, and wore the uniform of a British 
major, while his chiefs, who followed him on foot, were supplied 
with the cast-off scarlet coats of British officers of various ranks 
and with the trousers of common seamen. On arriving at the 
church "his Majesty was placed in a chair, near the altar, and 
the English coronation service was read by the chaplain to the 
colony, who on this occasion performed the part of the archbishop 
of Canterbury. When he arrived at this part, * And all the people 
said, let the king live forever, long live the king, God save the 
king !' the vessels of the port, according to a previous signal, fired 
a salute, and the chiefs rising, cried out, ' Long live King Robert ! * 


"His Majesty seemed chiefly occupied in admiring his finery, 
and after his anointing expressed his gratification by repeatedly 
thrusting his hands through his thick bushy hair and applying 
his finger to his nose, in this expressive manner indicating his 
delight at this part of the service. 

"Before, however, his chiefs could swear allegiance to their 
monarch, it was necessary that they profess Christianity; and, 
accordingly, with shame be it recorded, they were baptized 'in 
the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.' They displayed 
total ignorance of the meaning of this ceremony, and when asked 
to give their names took the titles of Lord Rodney, Lord Nelson, 
or some other celebrated officer and seemed grievously disap- 
pointed when told that they could only be baptized by simple 
Christian names. 

" After this solemn mockery was concluded, the whole assembly 
adjourned to a large schoolroom to eat the coronation dinner, 
when these poor creatures got all intoxicated with rum ; a suitable 
conclusion to a farce as blasphemous and wicked as ever dis- 
graced a Christian country." ^ 

British agents on the coast soon found themselves hoist by 
their own petard. They had made of Robert Charles Frederick 
a sovereign, and he proceeded in 1838 and 1839, in accordance 
with his sovereign will and pleasure, to give away sundry por- 
tions of his dominions in return for certain barrels of whiskey, 
bales of bright-hued calicoes, and other coin of the realm. One 
such grant he made to a London trader, John Sebastian Renwick, 
on September 20, 1838, bestowing upon him the region between 
the Patook and Black rivers, now in Honduras, and also per- 
mitting him to lay such customs duties and taxes as he saw fit. 
Then on January 28, 1839, this same sovereign, " in the fourteenth 
year of our reign," granted to Samuel Shepherd and Peter Shep- 

1 Henry Dunn, Guatimala, or the United Provinces of Central America, 25-7. 
(New York, 1828.) 


herd, British subjects/ late of the island of Jamaica, another 
princely donation, beginning on the south bank of the San Juan 
River and running south and east along the seashore, taking in the 
Boco del Toro and the Chiriqui Lagoon. When his Majesty's 
liberal disposition became known to the traders, they were not 
slow to purchase vast estates. In one of these grants the king 
gave away all the territory south of the San Juan River to the 
boundaries of New Granada (the eastern half of Costa Rica), 
and any one who felt so inclined could easily have secured a grant 
to any portion of North or South America he desired — pro- 
vided, of course, he deemed the grant worth the necessary present 
of grog.2 

These various assignments of territory were made necessarily 
without the knowledge of the British authorities, and when the 
superintendent of Belize, Colonel McDonald, heard of them he 
endeavoured to secure their revocation. The traders, however, 
were a fearfully determined set of men of whom King Robert 
stood in awe, and nothing could induce him to revoke the grants. 
He may have feared too the loss of his rum. McDonald then 
did the next best thing ; he persuaded the king to make his last 
will and testament appointing McDonald and others nominated 
by him as "Regents" in case the king should die before the 
"Crown Prince" attained his majority. Shortly after this King 
Robert was considerate enough to die, and McDonald as regent 
issued a decree in the name of the boy king, George William 
Clarence, revoking the grants. This decree set forth that most 
if not all of the cessions of land had been improperly obtained 
from the late king without any equivalent return for them, and 
that "many of the cessionaries had obtained said cessions from 
the late king when he was not in his sound judgment [i.e. drunk] 
and as said cessions despoil the successor of the late king of ter- 

1 While the Shepherds claimed British citizenship, they were natives of Georgia. 
» American Whig Review, V., 202-3. 


ritorial jurisdiction in his kingdom and of his hereditary rights . . . 
it is necessary and convenient for the security, honour, and welfare 
of this kingdom that said cessions be annulled and abolished." ^ 

No one need accuse the boy king of lack of filial respect in thus 
hinting oflficially at a moral weakness in his deceased parent; 
for no royal hand of ebon hue drafted this document. It was 
McDonald's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. The youth- 
ful king was now entrusted to the care of McDonald's secretary, 
Patrick Walker, who became the Johannes Factotum of the king- 
dom, and was a well-known character along the coast, where he 
was usually designated as "Pat" Walker. The Central American 
States were meanwhile too much engrossed with their domestic 
tribulations to take any note of British aggressions along the 
Mosquito Coast. Nicaragua, however, ever since its independ- 
ence, had asserted its claims to this territory. In 1844 Patrick 
Walker served notice on the Nicaraguan government that its 
occupation of San Juan and other places along the shore was 
without legal right, as this territory lay within the boundaries of 
the Mosquito kingdom. Four years later, when war was waging 
between Mexico and the United States, the British government 
foresaw the results and sought to check as far as possible the inevi- 
table American expansion by seizing the port of San Juan, which 
was apparently the key to future interoceanic communication. 

Mention has already been made of the Mosquito king's grant 
to the two Shepherds. They later associated with themselves 
Stanislaus Thomas Haly.* For about fifteen years they held the 
documents containing the "his X mark" of King Robert Charles 
Frederick in a securely locked chest, and naturally disregarded 
the decree of revocation of the succeeding sovereign. To them the 
decree of one king was as good as that of another. Later grants 

^ MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Central American 
Legations, Notes to Department, II. 

* Proapecttis of the Central American Company (Philadelphia, 1855) ; P. F. Stout, 
Nicaragua; Pa»t, Present, and Future, 171-82 (Philadelphia, 1859). 


to other traders also fell into the hands of the Shepherds, and 
when our first minister to Nicaragua, Mr. Ephraim G. Squier, 
visited Captain Samuel Shepherd at his home in Greytown, in 
1850, the veteran trader, then nearly blind, showed him docu- 
ments conveying the title to about two-thirds of the king's do- 
minions.^ In their extreme old age the Shepherds tried to dis- 
pose of their grants, first, it is said, in England, and finding no 
buyer there, they succeeded in disposing of them in the United 
States to Henry L. Kinney and his associates. Kinney was a 
native of Pennsylvania, but in 1838 he migrated to western 
Texas, and some years later was one of the founders of the town 
of Corpus Christi. He had served in the Mexican War, attain- 
ing the position of division quartermaster of Texas volunteers, 
with the rank of major. He had also served several terms in 
the State legislature and had traded in live stock and speculated 
in real estate on an extensive scale. His purchase of the Shep- 
herd grant of twenty-two and a half million acres was the greatest 
of all his land deals, and it is said that he had agreed to pay the 
grantees half a million dollars for their concession.^ To carry 
out his plans, a corporation was organized with an authorized 
capital of $5,625,000 and was styled the Central American Com- 
pany.^ The ostensible objects of the company were to colonize 

1 Squier, Nicaragua, 55 flf. Their claims are described by the grantees as "be- 
ginning on the south bank of the river San Juan, and running south and east along 
the seashore, taking in the Boco del Toro and the Chiriqui Lagoon, and running 
thence up to the rock called King Buppan, adjoining New Granada, and from 
thence southerly to the ridge of the mountains that divide the two oceans up to 
the Spanish lines, and thence parallel with the seacoast in a northerly direction, 
crossing the San Juan, and running thence'to where the Bluefields Main River inter- 
sects the Spanish lines, thence back by the northern banks of the Bluefields River 
to Great River and by said river to the sea, and by the seacoast southerly to the 
mouth of San Juan, including all islands and especially Little Corn Island and the 
Island of Escuda de Varagua [sic]." Prospectus of the Central American Company. 

« Thrall, H. S., A Pictorial History of Texas, 579 (St. Louis, 1878). Kinney stood 
high in the esteem of the Texans, and a county of that State bears his name. 

« There were twenty-one directors, most of whom'resided in New York, Philadel- 
phia, and Washington. The president of the company was James Cooper, of 
Philadelphia, an ex-Senator of the United States, and the company's solicitor was 
William B. Mann, then an assistant district attorney of Philadelphia. 


the lands and develop the natural resources of the Mosquito 
kingdom. Two hundred and twenty-five thousand shares of 
stock were issued with a par value of twenty-five dollars each, 
and every share was backed with one hundred acres of land and 
could be exchanged for this amount when presented at the com- 
pany's office in Greytown. Here, then, was a chance for the 
emigrant to secure some of the most fertile lands of the tropics for 
twenty-five cents an acre. The company advertised extensively, 
opened offices in New York and Philadelphia, and seemed to 
have no difficulty in developing its plans of colonization. Be- 
tween the humble beginning of Walker's undertaking and the 
flourish with which the Kinney enterprise was inaugurated, there 
was the greatest contrast. No secret was made of the prepa- 
rations. Kinney even made several trips to Washington, where 
he had many friends among the politicians, including, it is said, 
the President of the United States.^ A notable addition to the 
company appeared in March, 1855, in the person of Joseph War- 
ren Fabens, the American commercial agent who had figured so 
prominently in the events preceding the bombardment of Grey- 
town. He had acquired the title to a large tract of land upon 
the plateau of the Chontales district near Lake Nicaragua, a 
region much more healthful and richer in natural resources than 
the Mosquito Coast ; and he and Kinney now agreed to pool their 
interests. The Secretary of State, Mr. William L. Marcy, saw 
fit, however, to interfere at this juncture by notifying Fabens on 

• After the failure of Kinney's enterprise, his partner, Joseph W. Fabens, pub- 
lished what purported to be an expos6 of the relations between President Pierce and 
Kinney. He declared that Kinney turned his attention to Central America at 
Pierce's suggestion, that among Kinney's early associates in the enterprise were 
Sidney Webster, Pierce's private secretary, and Judge A. O. P. Nicholson, editor 
of the Washington Union, the administration paper, and printer for the House of 
Representatives. He further stated that he joined forces with Kinney at the ear- 
nest solicitation of Webster and Nicholson, who approached him on this subject on 
the very night he arrived in Washington on his visit from Nicaragua ; and that 
opposition from the administration developed as a result of a quarrel between Kin- 
ney and Gushing. Kinney also quarrelled with White, of the Transit Company, 
which was at first friendly. Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, p. 176 (Library of Congress). 


April 25 that he could no longer hold his position of commercial 
agent if he joined the Kinney expedition, and when Fabens con- 
tinued his relations with Kinney Marcy promptly dismissed him.^ 
Another important personage who became deeply interested in 
the movement was Fletcher Webster, a son of the famous orator 
and at this time surveyor of the port of Boston. The fact that 
Webster had once been secretary of legation in China under 
Caleb Cushing, who was now a member of the Pierce cabinet, 
served to strengthen still further the impression that the move- 
ment had the sanction of men high in the nation's counsels. It 
was even reported that Webster would go to Nicaragua with 

In New York Kinney chartered the new and speedy steamer 
United States, which had recently broken all records in the run be- 
tween that city and Havana, and laid his plans to sail on May 7 
with between four hundred and five hundred emigrants. His 
preparations were on a tenfold greater scale than those of Walker 
in San Francisco, who was at this time sorely hampered by the 
creditors who had tied up his decayed brig. But Kinney also 
was destined to encounter opposition. It came in the first place 
from the Nicaraguan minister at Washington, Senor Marcoleta, 
who began to discharge his diplomatic pop-gun at the expedi- 
tionists, not only through the regular official channels but also 
through the press. The minister's attacks could not possibly 
have been inspired by his government, which was then battling 
for its life with the Democratic faction and was in such a pre- 
carious condition as to render the status of Marcoleta himself 
somewhat ambiguous. The secret of his active opposition was 
revealed when it became known that his legal adviser in this 
matter was Joseph L. White, the attorney for the Accessory 
Transit Company. As the Nicaraguan government had never 
recognized the Mosquito claims, it would naturally oppose the 

1 New York Herald, May 12 and 16, 1855. * Ibid., April 21, 1855. 


schemes of the Central American Company, which was acting 
under grants from the Mosquito king; but it had never done 
more than make a formal protest against this encroachment upon 
its territory. Marcoleta, however, was now showing surprising 
energy in asserting the claims of his republic. Plainly, he was 
being used as a catspaw by White. It soon became evident that 
the Kinney enterprise had met a deadly foe in the Transit Com- 
pany. It was to the interest of that corporation that Greytown 
be wiped off the map, and it had succeeded in inveigling the 
government into doing this bit of dirty work. But it had barely 
made itself the absolute master of the port before Kinney appeared 
with a proposition to revive the settlement, introduce a more 
energetic population, and assert the rights of Greytown to auton- 
omy in a more vigorous fashion than ever before. The Central 
American Company, if once it got a foothold in Greytown, might 
grant special privileges to a rival steamship concern and destroy 
the Transit Company's monopoly. It was rumoured, too, that 
the Transit Company was maturing a scheme to rebuild Grey- 
town for its own profit. White and his associates, therefore, 
determined to thwart the Kinney enterprise at all hazards. 

The results of this opposition were quickly apparent. Kinney 
was indicted by a Federal grand jury and was arrested on April 
27 on a charge of fitting out a military expedition against the 
republic of Nicaragua. Five days later, Fabens, who had been 
indicted jointly with Kinney, was arrested in Washington and 
taken to New York. He and Kinney were released on bail. 
Fabens, when arrested, still held his position as United States 
commercial agent, and was not removed till a week later. The 
trial was set for May 7, and when the case was called John 
McKeon, the United States district attorney, declared that the 
government was not ready, on account of the absence of material 
witnesses, and asked for a postponement. Counsel for the de- 
fendants urged that the delay requested by McKeon was only a 


scheme to break up the expedition, as the expense of holding the 
steamer and feeding several hundred men amounted to more than 
two thousand dollars a day, and that unless the case were adju- 
dicated at once the expedition would be compelled to disband. 
They declared that McKeon had made no special effort to find the 
witnesses and could not give their full names, and was merely 
seeking to effect an abandonment of the enterprise without going 
to the trouble of securing proof of its unlawfulness. The court 
ordered the trial to proceed, but McKeon declared himself un- 
willing to conduct the prosecution without preparation and left 
the question of the further disposition of the case to the court. 
Kinney and Fabens were then discharged on their own recog- 

It was next announced that the expedition would sail on the 
19th, but on the 14th an indictment was returned against Kinney 
in Philadelphia, where he had also been recruiting for his ex- 
pedition. This necessitated his going to that city for a prelim- 
inary hearing, which resulted in his release on a bail of $4500. 
His counsel, George M. Dallas, strove hard, but in vain, to have 
the bond reduced. At the hearing the Federal district attorney 
alleged that Kinney was fitting out an expedition of three hundred 
men to go direct from Philadelphia to Greytown, and that he had 
freely promised civil and military commissions in order to induce 
enlistments.^ The Philadelphia entanglement caused further 
postponement, and during his absence from New York Kinney 
was made the defendant in a civil suit brought by two New York 
merchants for goods which they had sold him seventeen years 
previously, before his migration to Texas .^ White and Marcoleta 
seemed resolved to wear Kinney out with litigation, knowing that 
every day's delay involved enormous expense and increasing de- 
moralization among his followers. Opponents of the enterprise 
even resorted to slander, alleging that the leader would take a 

1 Philadelphia Daily Newa, May 22, 1855. « New York Herald, May 29, 1855. 


beautiful and wealthy young New York woman with him to Nica- 
ragua on a honeymoon journey, when every one of Kinney's 
acquaintances knew that he had a wife in Texas.^ 

Meanwhile three government steamers and a revenue cutter 
on May 24 established a close blockade of the steamer United 
States, to prevent Kinney's secret departure. This had been 
done on orders from Washington issued on the basis of a report 
that the vessel would leave on the 26th. 

The trial of Kinney and Fabens in New York was set again 
for June 5, and when they failed to appear their recognizances 
were declared forfeited and warrants were issued for their arrest. 
They were arrested the next day, and after making satisfactory 
explanations to the court for their non-appearance were again 
released on their recognizances, with instructions to appear for 
trial the following day. Fabens duly appeared on this day and 
on the next, but Kinney was nowhere to be found. The govern- 
ment on the 8th asked a postponement until both defendants could 
be arraigned, and this ended the case ; for Kinney was then on 
the high seas. 

The story of Kinney's escape may be quickly told. To divert 
attention from his movements a meeting in his behalf was called 
to take place on the evening of the 6th at the dock where the 
United States was moored. The moving spirit in the meeting 
was John Graham, the owner of the blockaded steamer, and also 
reputed to be a sort of high admiral for the Cuban junta in New 
York. Graham, it seems, had gained great popularity during 
the previous winter by his generous donations to the poor. This 
meeting was to be one of working people, who were summoned to 
convene and protest against the shabby treatment their bene- 
factor was receiving at the hands of government officials. A 
large crowd — the newspapers say three thousand — assembled 
on the pier, where a speaker's platform had been erected near the 

» Herald, May 11 and 18. 


steamer. After an organization was effected, a statement was 
read showing that the government's interference had tied up 
Graham's business and had caused him to discharge a large num- 
ber of mechanics. Several speeches were made by friends of Kin- 
ney and Graham, after which the meeting was declared adjourned 
till a later date. A report had been circulated, perhaps design- 
edly, that while the meeting was in progress the steamer would 
slip her hawsers and go to sea. This drew a larger crowd than 
would otherwise have appeared. At the very hour of the as- 
sembly Kinney and thirteen companions quietly sailed out of the 
harbour in the schooner Emma. The promoters of the meeting 
may have been innocent tools of shrewder men, but to all ap- 
pearances it was carefully designed to put the oflBcials on a false 

The blockade of the United States was not raised when it became 
known that Kinney had departed, as it was expected that the 
vessel would follow him with the remainder of his expeditionists. 
Fabens and Fletcher Webster went to Washington and exerted 
all their energies to secure the vessel's release, but the adminis- 
tration would listen to none of their pleadings.^ 

The question of Kinney's real motives must next be consid- 
ered. Was he merely a colonizing agent, as he publicly pro- 
claimed himself to be, or was he an ambitious adventurer seeking 
to carve a new state out of the chaotic republics of Central Amer- 
ica ? A letter purporting to be from him to a friend in Texas was 
published in the Brownsville Flag of May 5 and widely copied 
in other papers. There is no reason for questioning its authen- 
ticity. In it Kinney thus summarizes his plans : " It requires but 
a few hundred Americans, and particularly if Texans, to take 
control of all that country. I have grants of land, and enough 
to make a start upon safely and legally. I intend to make a 
suitable government, and the rest will follow." While the gov- 

1 New York Herald, June 6, 7, 17, 1855. « Ibid., June 24. 


ernment's allegations that Kinney's enterprise was a military ex- 
pedition against a friendly nation were never proven in a court 
of law, there was a general belief that this was its character, and 
all available evidence goes to substantiate it. We must there- 
fore enroll Kinney and his men in the ranks of the Central Amer- 
ican filibusters. There was a widespread impression that Kinney 
and Walker were partners. Later events showed them to be 

The news of Kinney's coming created no excitement among 
the enervated population of Greytown. The place had been 
rendered even more desolate by the chastisement administered by 
HoUins. No one there believed that five hundred white men would 
long remain in such a God-forsaken region. Bad luck followed 
Kinney and his thirteen companions on the Emma. The schooner 
was wrecked near Turk's Island, and the party after much suf- 
fering finally reached Greytown on an English steamer. But the 
leader was now a ruined man. He had exhausted his pecuniary 
resources, and there was not the slightest prospect of further aid 
from the United States, where the government remained obdu- 
rate and the Transit Company continued hostile. Still he did 
not abandon hope. The disconsolate inhabitants were inclined 
to accept his leadership, thinking that no change could be for the 
worse, and at a public meeting on September 6 and 7, 1855, a 
provisional government was created and Kinney was chosen 
civil and military governor. A council of five was chosen to ad- 
vise with him and to draw up a new constitution, which was to 
be ratified by popular vote. In the meantime the former con- 
stitution, modelled on that of the United States, was to serve as 
the basis for the provisional government. Kinney had brought 
with him a printing press, which he now set up, and on September 
15 issued the first number of his bi-weekly newspaper. The 
Central American. The chief object of the journal was to ad- 
vertise the resources of the country and attract immigrants. 


There is, however, a kind of melancholy humour in the extensive 
advertisements of Greytown lawyers, merchants, schools, traders, 
physicians, hotels, and places of amusement, all of which owed their 
existence to paper, printer's ink, and a vivid imagination.^ A full 
roster of civil officers was chosen to cooperate with Governor 
Kinney. Haly, one of the partners of the Shepherds, became 
chief judicial magistrate, and Samuel Shepherd, Jr., a member of 
the council. Other officials were the secretary of the government, 
captain and collector of the port, attorney-general, postmaster 
and recorder of deeds, provost marshal, deputy provost marshal, 
surveyor, constable, and two editors.^ There were just about as 
many officers as Kinney had followers. Before his departure 
Kinney had authorized agents in all parts of the United States 
to advertise his scheme and solicit emigrants, but no help from 
this source arrived. British agents, who were responsible for 
Greytown's pseudo-autonomy, refused to recognize the new 
provisional government, and the new expedition under Walker 
had entered Nicaragua from the west, and was meeting with 
notable success. Kinney's means were exhausted; he himself 
was ill; and a number of his followers decided to try their for- 
tunes under the rising star of Walker. In spite of reverses Kinney 
stubbornly held on with the persistence characteristic of all fili- 
busters. His former associate Fabens followed him to Greytown, 
and toward the end of the year they decided to approach Walker 
with a proposal of cooperation. This was their last hope, and, as 
the sequel will show, it was destined to bitter disappointment. 

1 Extracts from Kinney's paper were reproduced in many American newspapers. 
See, for example, Alta California, Nov. 4, 1855. 
' Stout, Nicaragua, 176 f . 


The American Phalanx 

Walker and Kinney were on the sea and bound for Nicaragua 
at the same time. The Vesta had a rough voyage, but its occu- 
pants were more fortunate than Kinney's men in the Emma and 
escaped shipwreck. On the 16th of June, the fifty-eight Americans 
landed at Realejo, the northernmost port of Nicaragua, and on 
proceeding to Leon, Walker was gladly welcomed by Castellon, as 
the fortunes of the Democratic party were then on the wane. The 
fifty-eight newcomers were designated as the American Phalanx, 
and their leader received the rank of colonel, a title by which he 
had been designated ever since his invasion of Lower California. 
Walker now divided the Phalanx into two companies ; Achilles 
Kewen was appointed lieutenant-colonel, Crocker became major, 
and Hornsby senior captain. Most of the men became naturalized 
Nicaraguan citizens, as a simple declaration of intention was the 
sole requirement of any native-born citizen of an American republic. 
It was Walker's plan to occupy the Transit road in order that he 
might recruit his forces from the passengers crossing the isthmus. 
Accordingly, on June 23 the men reembarked on the Vesta with 
one hundred and ten native allies and sailed southward. They 
landed about eighteen miles north of San Juan del Sur and took 
the trail toward Rivas, a town some miles north of the Transit 
and about midway between Virgin Bay and San Juan del Sur. It 
was necessary for Walker to occupy this town if he intended to 
control the Transit. The Legitimists had been apprised of his com- 
ing. Walker thought through the treachery of General Muiioz, 



Castellon's commander-in-chief, who had resented the latter's 
employment of Americans and at Realejo had thrown many 
obstacles in the way of their departure. Castellon had promised 
Walker two hundred natives, and the fact that only about half 
that number appeared Walker also attributed to the influence of 

Rivas was attacked at noon on the 29th. Walker's native troops 
fled at the first fire, leaving his fifty-five Americans opposed to a 
force of over five hundred. The falanginos took refuge in several 
houses, where they were surrounded by the enemy and held at bay 
for four hours. American rifles did fearful execution, but Walker's 
two ranking officers, Kewen and Crocker, were killed ; and three 
other officers, Anderson, De Brissot, and Doubleday, were 
wounded. Five of his men were dead and twelve wounded, leav- 
ing only thirty-eight to continue the fight against fearful odds. 
Then the Legitimists conceived the plan of setting fire to the 
houses in which the men had taken shelter. This necessitated a 
retreat. The Americans raised a loud shout and sallied forth, 
while the enemy, somewhat dazed by the sudden offensive move- 
ment, waited an attack and allowed the Americans to escape with 
the loss of only one more man. Five of the wounded were too 
severely injured to join in the retreat. These were butchered by 
the natives and their bodies burned. The Legitimists' losses 
were ten times as great as those of the Americans. But Crocker 
and Kewen were men whom Walker could never replace. The 
former had stood by Walker in all the hardships of his campaign 
in Lower California, and in his cold and undemonstrative way the 
filibuster leader had come to regard him as almost a brother.^ 

With the survivors of the fight Walker with difficulty made his 

1 In this account of what is usually referred to as "the first battle of Rivas," I 
have followed Walker's own narrative, which is remarkably accurate and accepted 
as correct by such a hostile writer as the Costa Rican historian, Dr. Monttifar. 
See Walker, War in Nicaragua, eh. 2 ; Lorenzo Monttifar, Walker en Centro- 
AmSrica, 69-78 (Guatemala, 1887) ; Wells, Walker's Expedition, 51-55. 


way to San Juan del Sur, where as they marched through the 
streets they presented a most unimposing spectacle, some bare- 
headed, some barefooted, some limping from wounds, and all 
extremely dirty and hungry. Gloomy as prospects then appeared, 
there were two men in the town who joined the Phalanx.^ The 
Vesta, which had been ordered to cruise off the port, was nowhere 
to be found, and Walker impressed into service a Costa Rican 
schooner, the San JosS, which had just dropped anchor in the 
harbour, and set sail for Realejo. The captain of the vessel made 
the best of the situation, especially after being notified that the 
vessel might be libelled at Realejo for having recently brought a 
Guatemalan chieftain, General Guardiola, into Nicaragua for 
the purpose of aiding the Legitimists against the Democrats. On 
the way the Vesta was overhauled and the men were transferred. 
Realejo was reached on July 1st, two days after the fight at Rivas. 
Walker submitted to Castellon a written report of the events, 
in which he roundly accused the natives of bad faith, and 
attributed their treachery to the agency of Munoz. He demanded 
an investigation of the conduct of that oflScer and affirmed that if 
the general's conduct were not cleared of suspicion the Phalanx 
would withdraw from the Democratic service. Castellon sent 
Dr. Livingston, an American, to Walker with explanations and 
an urgent request to remain. The latter, however, feigned to sulk 
in his tent, or rather in the cabin of the Vesta, and appeared to be 
ready at any moment to sail away. Such, however, was far from 
his purpose. His real objects were to give his men a much-needed 
rest and his wounded time to recover, and also to impress Castellon 
with the necessity of American aid. After ten days Walker yielded 
and agreed to take the Phalanx to Leon, the Democratic capital, 
where the inhabitants were in great fear of an attack by the Legit- 
imists. Horses and ox carts were supplied by the grateful Demo- 

1 Walker has sought to perpetuate their memory by giving their names — Peter 
Bums, an Irishman, and Henry McLeod, a Texan. 

Walker's Theatre 

of Operations in 



crats, and the wounded were well cared for in Chinandega. Indeed, 
for some days the falanginos lived on the fat of the land. 

On the way to Leon Walker met his old friend Byron Cole. 
The latter, after sending his contract to Walker, had waited 
week after week for the coming of the Americans, and at length 
had abandoned hope and followed Wells to the mining region of 
Olancho. On hearing of Walker's arrival, he had hastened back 
to Leon, bringing with him a former Prussian cavalry officer, 
Bruno von Natzmer, whose knowledge of the language and of the 
country made him a valuable man to the commander of the 
Phalanx. These two accessions offset somewhat the loss of tried 
and trusted followers at Rivas. 

After the fears of a Legitimist attack on Leon had subsided 
Walker proposed a second expedition to the region of the Transit 
and again he met the opposition of Munoz, who wished to divide 
the Americans into squads of ten, distribute them among the 
native companies, and march on Granada. Seeing that the 
natives were indisposed to assist him in his plan of campaign, 
Walker ordered his men to make ready to return to Chinandega, 
and issued his requisition for horses and ox carts. The requisition 
was ignored, and three hundred and fifty native soldiers were 
marched into quarters opposite those of the Phalanx. A clash 
was momentarily threatened, and Walker served an ultimatum 
on Castellon to withdraw the troops within an hour or he would 
regard him as a hostile force and act accordingly. This had the 
desired effect ; the Democratic soldiers were marched away, and the 
Americans were furnished with horses and carts. On their march 
they kept a sharp watch for any treacherous movement on the part 
of their erstwhile friends. Castellon was undoubtedly glad to be 
free of their presence. 

These difficulties foreshadowed the more serious troubles that 
were to follow: When Walker arrived the Democrats were aware 
that their cause was lost without his help, and for a time they 


looked upon the Phalanx as the means of their salvation. But 
they now perceived that their ideas and Walker's were by no means 
the same ; they hoped to subjugate their rivals by foreign aid ; the 
commander of the Phalanx, as they were soon to learn, was plan- 
ning to Americanize the country. The full meaning of Walker's 
coming had not yet been perceived by the Democratic leaders, but 
it had become apparent that he was not going to waste much time 
in campaigning solely for their benefit. Walker's objective was the 
Transit road, where he could enlist recruits. The Democrats were 
interested only in defending Leon and attacking Granada, where 
their opponents lay in great force. A campaign along the Transit 
was about the last thing they would have undertaken. This 
difference in motives, which so quickly made its appearance, was 
the fundamental cause of all subsequent hostilities between natives 
and Americans. While the falanginos remained at Chinandega, 
making such preparations as they could for a campaign in the 
Meridional department, Byron Cole had tarried in Leon and had 
used his influence with Castellon in two important matters. Now 
that Walker and his men were safely beyond the jurisdiction of the 
United States and the neutrality laws, it was no longer necessary 
to maintain the pretence of acting under a colonization contract. 
Cole therefore secured a new grant authorizing Walker to enlist 
three hundred men for the military service of the State, with pay 
at the rate of one hundred dollars a month and a grant of five 
hundred acres of land at the close of the campaign. The second 
arrangement perfected by Cole had much more far-reaching conse- 
quences, though its importance at the time was not very apparent. 
He secured from Castellon full authority for Walker to adjust all 
differences between the republic and the Accessory Transit Com- 
pany. Walker's subsequent relations with this corporation consti- 
tute the most important factor in his entire career. 

Although Castellon had not authorized the expedition, Walker 
in the middle of August marched his men to Realejo and placed 


them aboard the Vesta. An Indian named Jose Maria Valle, who 
was sub-prefect of Chinandega, had come to admire the Americans 
as warmly as he hated the Legitimists, and he was therefore per- 
suaded to recruit a force of natives to accompany Walker to the 
Meridional department. Castellon ordered him to desist, but 
without avail, and he brought a force of over one hundred and sixty 
men to Realejo. Walker pretended to be on the point of sailing 
to Honduras, where a war was waging with Guatemala. The 
Honduran president, General Trinidad Cabanas, had asked 
Democratic aid against his enemy in return for his services to 
Castellon the previous year, and this gave colour to Walker's 
pretext. He had not the slightest idea, however, of abandoning 
the Transit ; and on August 23, in spite of Castellon's urgent 
request to return to Leon, he sailed for San Juan del Sur, accom- 
panied by Valle with one hundred and twenty natives. The Indian 
ally had lost already a fourth of his contingent through desertion 
and the ravages of the cholera, to which the Americans so far had 
been immune. 

It will be observed that in undertaking this second expedition 
to the Transit route Walker was acting in direct disobedience to 
his superior, and in fact was starting a little revolution of his own. 
It is interesting to note his ready adoption of the revolutionary 
tactics of the Spanish-American chieftains, and at this we need not 
be surprised ; for he was merely adapting himself to his environ- 
ment. There was no sovereign power to evoke or compel obedi- 
ence, and disobedience to a merely titular dignitary could hardly 
be regarded as treasonable. Nevertheless, it must be noted that 
in defending his course in later times Walker always asserted with 
emphasis that he went to Nicaragua at the express invitation of 
Castellon. This statement implied his recognition of Castellon's 
authority as supreme director; and his subsequent actions were 
certainly not consistent with any such assumption. In other 
words, if he were right in going to Nicaragua only because of an 


invitation from the supreme director of the Democratic govern- 
ment, he was wrong in sailing for the Transit without permission 
from the same source. 

Shortly after anchoring in the harbour of San Juan del Sur, 
Walker learned that no less a personage than Parker H. French 
was in the town en route to San Francisco after a visit to the Legit- 
imist headquarters at Granada. What motives French may have 
had in visiting that city will never be known. He may have 
attempted to secure a contract from the Legitimists similar to 
Cole's, and he at least used this as a pretext for getting into com- 
munication with the leaders. Being looked upon as employed in 
the Legitimists' interests, he was of course debarred from com- 
munication with Walker. The clever rascal, however, had himself 
arrested and carried aboard the Vesta as a prisoner. There he 
explained to Walker that he had gone to Granada merely to spy 
out the land, and proceeded to relate what he had found. Walker 
did not make too close an inquiry into his story, but resolved to 
make the best use of the man that he could and authorized him to 
return to San Francisco and enlist a company of seventy-five men. 

It was reported at San Juan del Sur that the Legitimists were in 
force at Rivas ai;d that Guardiola, the Guatemalan chieftain, 
would soon take command. He had been defeated by Munoz 
in the North and had fled to Granada. He now swore to revenge 
himself on the filibusters and drive them into the sea. Not wishing 
to remain entirely on the defensive or to allow his men to become 
demoralized by inactivity. Walker marched his force on the night 
of September 2 the entire length of the Transit road to Virgin 
Bay. Here on the following morning, while the men were prepar- 
ing breakfast, they were attacked by six hundred men under 
Guardiola. He had left Rivas the same night, and on reaching the 
Transit road at a point where the falanginos had passed but a 
short time before, had started toward Virgin Bay in pursuit. 
Walker's men had to fight with the lake at their backs, and as 


there was no chance of retreat natives and Americans held their 
ground and fought well side by side. The result was a victory for 
the Democratic force. Not an American was killed, and only two 
of their allies. Sixty of the enemy were found dead after the fight 
and over a hundred and fifty guns were picked up which they had 
thrown away in their flight. During the action Walker was 
knocked down by a spent ball, which struck him in the throat, 
and a package of Castellon's letters in his coat pocket was cut to 
pieces by a bullet. To the surprise of the natives Walker ordered 
the wounded of the enemy to be as carefully attended to as his own 
men, and none were more amazed than the poor stricken wretches 
themselves, who expected to be shot or bayoneted according to 
the Nicaraguan custom. 

On the afternoon following this engagement the Phalanx marched 
back to San Juan del Sur. The news of their success brought addi- 
tional recruits to their ranks. A report of the victory was for- 
warded to Castellon, but when the news reached Leon the pro- 
visional director was in his death struggles, and an hour later had 
breathed his last, a victim of the cholera. Castellon^s successor, 
Nasario Escoto, thanked the force for the victory and promised 
to send what aid he could, but added that the spread of cholera 
would make it diflScult to secure any voluntary enlistments, the 
only kind Walker would consider. 

After a month of waiting at San Juan del Sur, during which 
time Walker was compelled to levy a military contribution upon 
the local merchants for his maintenance, help finally came from 
the United States. On the 3d of October a steamer of the Transit 
Company arrived from San Francisco bringing thirty-five recruits 
under the command of Colonel Charles Gilman, the one-legged 
veteran of the Lower California expedition, whose terrible experi- 
ence in that campaign had failed to cool his filibustering fervour. 
With Gilman came also another veteran of that expedition, who 
has also appeared before in these pages, Captain George R. David- 


son.^ But the most important arrival on that steamer, so far as 
Walker's interests were affected, was not these recruits but a 
Scotchman, Charles J. McDonald. Oilman introduced McDonald 
to Walker as the friend of C. K. Garrison, the San Francisco man- 
ager of the Accessory Transit Company,^ and this meeting was 
pregnant with results for the future of the filibuster cause. To 
Walker McDonald's arrival was most gratifying, as it seemed to 
indicate a willingness on the part of a group of financiers to assist 
the Americans in establishing themselves in Nicaragua. 

Fortunes, as well as misfortunes, never come singly. On the 
same day that Oilman and McDonald arrived there came thirty- 
five Democratic volunteers from Leon, whom the provisional 
director, true to his promise, had enlisted for service in the 
Meridional department. This brought Walker's total strength 
up to two hundred and fifty men, one hundred and fifty being 
natives. He was now ready for strong offensive operations. 

1 Charles Oilman was a native of Baltimore who migrated to California and was 
admitted to the bar of that State in 1852. Davidson was born in Frankfort, 
Kentucky. He served as a lieutenant in a Kentucky regiment during the Mexican 
War, and soon thereafter went to California. Both Oilman and Davidson survived 
in Nicaragua but about two months. New York Herald, Jan. 14, 1856. 

" War in Nicaragua, 127. 


The Capture of Granada 

Encouraged by the apparent interest shown in his plans by 
oflScials of the Transit Company, Walker resolved on a bold stroke, 
which was one of the few acts of his career that indicated anything 
like real generalship. As the entire Legitimist force was at Rivas, 
he knew that they had left Granada, some thirty miles to the north, 
practically undefended. By marching to Virgin Bay and embark- 
ing his men on one of the lake steamers of the Transit Company, 
he could easily approach the Legitimist capital by water and seize 
the city before its small garrison were aware of his approach. 
Accordingly, on October 11 Walker proceeded to Virgin Bay, 
where he took possession of the Company's steamer La Virgen, 
and the next afternoon he placed his entire force aboard. In the 
darkness, with her lights extinguished, the Virgen steamed past 
Granada to a point three miles north of the city, where the men 
disembarked, and at three o'clock on the morning of the 13th began 
their advance on Granada. They reached the outskirts shortly 
after daybreak, and in a few minutes the city was theirs. The 
small garrison, taken entirely by surprise, fired a few shots and 
fled. Firmly entrenched in the enemy's capital, Walker was now 
practically master of the State. He set free about a hundred 
political prisoners, many of whom were in chains, and thereby 
gained the further good will of the Democrats. At the same time, 
however, he estranged many of his followers by not allowing them 
to plunder the hated city or wreak their vengeance on many of the 
prominent Legitimists. 



The next day was Sunday, and Walker and a number of his 
oflBcers attended eight o'clock mass and listened to a sermon by the 
curate, Padre Augustin Vijil, who counselled peace and good will 
toward men. Throughout his career in Central America Walker 
made special efforts to gain the friendship of the clergy, knowing 
well the powerful influence of that class in Latin countries; and 
the reports of his desecrations of holy places, which were circulated 
by his enemies and apparently believed by some hostile historians, 
are mere fabrications.^ On this same day the municipal officers 
met and drew up resolutions in which they tendered Walker the 
presidency. Walker naturally declined to accept what they had 
no right to give and suggested that they tender the place to Corral, 
the Legitimist commander, with whom he was now anxious to 
effect a conciliation.^ 

He therefore turned his attention to negotiating for peace, and 
a commission was despatched to the camp of Corral at Rivas, 
to urge the termination of hostilities. Mr. John H. Wheeler, the 
American minister, also agreed to use his good oflSces and proceeded 
to Rivas. Corral refused to treat with the native commissioners, 
and Mr. Wheeler not only failed to see the commander, but was 
treated with many indignities while there. The Legitimist leader 
in the meantime sent frequent letters to Walker, indicating a desire 
to treat with him independently, but to such proposals the com- 
mander of the falanginos turned a deaf ear. 

Certain incidents now occurred which brought Corral to terms. 
Four days after the capture of Granada the San Francisco steamer 
arrived at San Juan del Sur bringing Parker H. French and sixty 
recruits. One member of the party was Birkett D. Fry, a soldier 
of the Mexican War, to whom French, with his usual maladroit- 
ness, had given the title of colonel without authority from Walker 
or any one else. French was still a megalomaniac. He proposed 

• See, for example, Bancroft, Central America, III., 366 note. 
» Senate Ex. Doc. 68, 34 Cong., 1 Sess. 


a march to Virgin Bay, which was made without mishap, though 
they were lucky to have escaped an ambush with the enemy so 
near at hand as Rivas. On reaching Virgin Bay French next pro- 
posed that they board a lake steamer and capture Fort San Carlos, 
which commanded the point where the lake debouches into the 
San Juan River. The men were placed on board with the pas- 
sengers, many of whom were women and children. After making 
a demonstration before the fort they found it too strong to capture 
with their single brass field piece, and headed the steamer toward 
Granada. After landing the recruits the steamer returned with 
the passengers to Virgin Bay, as it would have been folly for it to 
try to enter the river after its previous threatening approach upon 
the fort. The passengers, some two hundred and fifty, were then 
quartered in the company's buildings, and there they were fired 
upon by a party of Legitimists and several were killed and 
wounded. To the native the neutral passenger and the hostile 
filibuster looked very much alike. Moreover, the other lake 
steamer, bringing passengers up the river from the Atlantic States, 
was fired on when it approached San Carlos, and a woman and 
child were killed. Under such circumstances traffic across the 
isthmus was temporarily suspended, and all the passengers were 
taken for protection to Granada.^ French and Fry in their desire 
to distinguish themselves had caused death and suffering to 
women and children and had threatened ruin to Walker's prospects 
by causing the closure of the Transit. Yet Walker was in no posi- 
tion to take them seriously to task. He overlooked their blunders 
and placed all the blame on the Legitimists, whom he resolved to 
punish in a typically Nicaraguan fashion. Mateo Mayorga, a cab- 
inet minister under the Legitimist government, who had been 

1 Commodore Paulding to Secretary Dobbin, Dec. 21, 1855, and Jan. 22, 
1856, MS., Archives, Navy Department, Home Squadron, I., 98, 116, 120, 121; 
Minister Wheeler to Secretary Marcy, Oct. 23 and 30, 1855, MS.. Department of 
State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Despatches, Nicaragua, II. ; Senate Ex. Doc. 
68, 34 Cong., 1 Sess., 22-32. 


taken prisoner at the capture of Granada and placed on parole 
in the house of Minister Wheeler, was selected as the object of 
retaliation, being the most prominent Legitimist in Walker's 
power, and early on the morning of the 22d, he was led to the 
plaza and shot. Native Leonese were chosen for this nasty busi- 
ness and seemed well pleased with the opportunity to draw Grana- 
dino blood. Walker was proving an apt pupil in the art of Latin- 
American statecraft. 

A French resident of Granada was now sent to Corral at Masaya 
with the news of Mayorga's execution and of the reasons therefor, 
and with the further notice that the families of Granada would 
henceforth be held as hostages subject to the good behaviour of 
the Legitimists. This had the desired effect. The families of 
most of Corral's officers were in Granada, and with one consent the 
latter began to advocate peace. On the morning of the 23d the 
two commanders met in Granada and drafted a treaty which 
provided for peace between the warring factions, and a provisional 
government in which both sides should be represented.^ Patricio 
Rivas, an elderly and well-esteemed man with Legitimist leanings 
but moderate in his politics, was chosen provisional president. 
Corral became minister of war, and Walker was made commander- 
in-chief of the army of the republic. White and red party em- 
blems were to be discarded, and in their place all troops were to 
wear a blue ribbon bearing the words " Nicaragua Independente." ^ 

Here again we have evidence of Walker's rapid assimilation to 
the political methods of his adopted country. He and his opponent 
in the field negotiate out of existence the governments which they 
were serving and unite in devising a tertium quid to take their place. 
Neither of the men had any legal right to create a new government 
and name its president, and Walker states that he treated only as 

' For text of this treaty see Senate Ex. Doc. 68, 34 CJong., 1 Sess. 

» Wheeler to Marcy, Oct. 30, 1855, MS., Department of State, Bureau of 
Indexes and Archives, Despatches, Nicaragua, II. ; Walker, War in Nicaragua, 
126-134 ; Wells, Walker's Expedition, 77-82. 


a commanding officer, whose acts were subject to ratification by 
his government. Such ratification was duly made, but there was 
no legal sanction for it. The new government with Rivas as presi- 
dent was as revolutionary, therefore, as the two which it supplanted 
and owed its existence solely to military force. Since the contest 
had proven the supremacy of neither party, the legitimacy of 
neither of the preexisting governments had been established. 
Had Walker's party completely triumphed, the new government, 
to be legal, should have been established in accordance with the 
constitution of 1838. Had the Legitimists triumphed, the new 
government would have been legal if established in accordance 
with the constitution of 1854. None of these things occurred, 
and the Walker-Corral treaty therefore was nothing more nor less 
than a revolutionary act of compromise. 

It was Corral who proposed the treaty and it was he who wrote 
it. He clothed it in religious phraseology. The entire document, 
save a single clause relating to naturalization suggested by Walker, 
was the product of his brain. A week later the two knelt in the 
Cathedral before a crucifix and swore on the Holy Gospels to 
observe it. But Corral was at that very moment cherishing a 
grievance. After signing the treaty on the 23d he had returned 
to his headquarters at Masaya and made his preparations to enter 
Granada with his men. It was his understanding that Walker was 
to disband his Leonese, but when he marched into the city on the 
29th he found that the commander had drawn up his whole force 
in battle array on the plaza, as though suspecting treachery. This 
was enough to excite his anger if he were innocent of any hostile 
intent; but the sight of Americans and Leonese both in line 
enraged him. Smothering his resentment, he met Walker at the 
centre of the plaza, and the two, arm in arm and followed by their 
officers, entered the church, where a Te Deum was sung. On the 
following day they took the oath as already stated. Corral had 
evidently hoped, by appearing to be on very friendly terms with 


Walker, to arouse resentment against the filibuster leader among 
the Leonese, who would claim no man as their friend who was 
intimate with Corral. He disliked the Democrats tenfold more 
than the Americans, and he was scheming to use the latter to get 
rid of the former. On the day following the oath the new cabinet 
was completed. There had been no native Democrats in Granada 
of suflScient ability to fill a cabinet position, but on this day General 
Maximo Jerez, the chief of them, arrived from Leon with news 
that the treaty of the 23d had been duly ratified by the govern- 
ment at Leon, which thereby terminated its existence. Walker 
at once insisted that Jerez be given the most important remaining 
position in the cabinet, the Ministry of Relations, declaring that 
as the chief of one party was Secretary of War, the chief of the 
other should also have a prominent place in the government. 
Corral vehemently protested, but Walker's views gained the favour 
of President Rivas, and prevailed. The Legitimist leader's cup of 
bitterness was now filled to the brim, and the next day, with the 
oath of allegiance fresh on his lips, he wrote a letter to Guardiola : 
"It is necessary that you write to friends to advise them of the 
danger we are in, and that they work actively. If they delay two 
months there will not then be time. . . . Nicaragua is lost ; lost 
Honduras, San Salvador and Guatemala, if they let this develop." 
To Pedro Xatruch, one of the oflScers, he wrote another letter 
equally treasonable. The letters fell into Walker's hands, owing 
to their having been entrusted to a Democratic prisoner at Ma- 
nagua, who received his Uberty in advance as a reward for taking 
them to the Honduran frontier. The ex-prisoner, however, smart- 
ing with his wrongs at the hands of the Legitimists, and suspecting 
that such an extraordinary condition of release meant that mischief 
was brewing, carried the letters to Granada and gave them to 
Walker's faithful Indian ally, Valle. The commander-in-chief at 
once laid the letters before the cabinet in the presence of their 
author, who admitted his responsibility. As no courts were yet 


established, Corral was tried by court-martial, the court at his ow*n 
request being made up of Americans.^ He was found guilty of 
conspiracy and treason and sentenced to death, but the members 
all recommended him to the mercy of the commander-in-chief. 
Walker now had the choice of three courses : first, to banish the 
prisoner and thus allow him to marshal the discontented Nica- 
raguans beyond the border and return to plague the peace of the 
republic; secondly, to imprison him and allow him to become a 
centre of plots for his release and of conspiracies against the govern- 
ment ; or thirdly, to carry out the sentence of death, horrifying the 
Legitimists and arousing their resentment for the time being, if 
not permanently, but at leasl ridding the government of a danger- 
ous enemy. He decided upon the last course and remained firm 
in spite of all entreaties. In Granada Corral was immensely 
popular, and the sympathy for him was well-nigh universal. But 
Walker had come to see that no milk-and-water methods would 
suffice for the government of a population like that of Nicaragua. 
The subsequent history of this and of neighbouring republics has 
fully demonstrated that the mailed fist is essential to the peace and 
tranquillity of these regions, and has shown the wisdom of Walker's 
policy. On November 8, at two o'clock in the afternoon, the 
idol of the Legitimists was shot. His admirers of course made 
him a martyr, and gathering round his quivering form, they 
clipped locks of hair from his head and dipped their handkerchiefs 
in his blood.^ 

In destroying one great enemy the commander-in-chief had 
made several thousand lesser ones. This incident is typical of his 
history in Nicaragua. He not only raised up new foes by destroy- 
ing old ones, but whenever he gained a new friend he usually also 
made a new enemy. This will become evident as the story is told 

^ Hornsby was president, Fry judge advocate, and French counsel for the 

« Monttifar, Walker en Centra America, 141-46 ; Walker, War, 134-39. 



He could favour neither political faction in Nicaragua without dis- 
pleasing the other. What made his cause popular to Americans 
as a whole was to make him an object of suspicion to the British, 
He succeeded in gaining support in the Southern States only at the 
expense of antagonizing his friends in the North. By winning 
the support of one group of American capitalists he incurred the 
wrath of a powerful captain of industry, who resolved that he 
must be destroyed. These were matters beyond the filibuster 
leader's control. For lack of any better explanation we may as 
well attribute them to the decrees of fate. 

After the death of Corral the office of secretary of war was 
bestowed upon an ardent Democrat, Buenaventura Selva, and the 
balance of power between the hostile factions was destroyed. This 
tended only to increase the discontent of the Legitimists. Their 
entire force, which had marched into Granada with Corral, had 
been disbanded on the 4th, the day before Walker discovered their 
leader's treason. Most of the Democratic troops had also been 
disbanded, leaving only the Phalanx for the military service of 
the provisional government. Walker as commander-in-chief was 
thus the real head of the State, as military force was the sole basis of 
authority in that condition of society. These were great changes 
to bring about in the course of a fortnight, and in forcing matters 
so hastily. Walker showed woeful lack of consideration for the 
prejudices and susceptibilities of a highly emotional people. He 
lacked the foresight to perceive that a reaction against such rapid 
innovations was inevitable. Perhaps the sense of imminent 
danger, which he seemed to experience from the very moment of 
his entrance into the Legitimist stronghold, prevented his taking 
thought for the morrow and caused him to give attention only to 
present security. 

In spite of the fact that Walker's star seemed to be in the 
ascendant, his situation was indeed critical, and it had not been 
improved by the treaty of October 23. Peace had only brought 


a great influx of unstable natives into Granada whom he had 
fought without subduing ; and the firing of a single gun might have 
precipitated an uprising among them which would have wiped 
out the handful of Americans. 

Two events, however, seemed to augur well for the future of 
the filibuster regime. McDonald, Garrison's agent, had followed 
Walker to Granada, and he now proved a friend in need by offering 
to help finance the new government. Owing to the constant revo- 
lutions the treasury was empty — if indeed it had ever been other- 
wise — and no government that is bankrupt can long retain respect 
at home or abroad. Walker was at first doubtful of McDonald^s 
authority to go so far as the latter proposed ; namely, to advance 
to the commander-in-chief the sum of twenty thousand dollars. 
Perhaps it seemed too good to be true. McDonald showed 
Walker a vaguely worded power of attorney from C. K. Garrison, 
empowering him to act as his general agent in Nicaragua ; but the 
commander, with a lawyer's caution, was still not convinced until 
he had made inquiry of Gilman as to the personal relations between 
the Transit oJBBcial and his agent. After satisfying himself as to 
McDonald's authority. Walker accepted his proposal. The money 
was immediately forthcoming, for McDonald simply extracted 
that amount of gold bullion from a shipment in transit from Cali- 
fornia. He gave the owners of the bullion drafts on Charles 
Morgan, the Transit Company's New York manager, for the 
value of the amount taken, and these drafts were duly honoured. 
It was apparent, then, that the managers of the Transit Company 
in New York and in San Francisco had come to an understanding 
that Walker was in a position to promote their interests. They 
would never have donated twenty thousand dollars as an act of 
charity. The loan was well secured, as the Nicaraguan govern- 
ment pledged its redemption out of the annual payments the com- 
pany made to the State for the enjoyment of its franchise.^ 

1 Walker, War in Nicaragua, 127-28. 


Another seemingly auspicious event was the recognition of the 
new government on November 10 by the American minister, 
Mr. John H. Wheeler. Just two days before this, however, Secre- 
tary Marcy had forwarded instructions to Wheeler to abstain 
from all intercourse with the new administration until it could 
show beyond all question that it was the de facto government. 
Wheeler's action, therefore, was premature and contrary to the 
instructions then on their way to him. When his report of his 
recognition reached the State Department his action was disavowed 
and he was reprimanded.^ Perhaps the only thing that saved 
Wheeler from dismissal was the fact that he had a warm defender 
in the cabinet in the person of James C. Dobbin, the Secretary of 
the Navy. These two men were from North Carolina. There 
Dobbin had made a two-year fight for the United States Senate 
against Romulus M. Saunders, and had received Wheeler's support 
during the protracted deadlock, the latter then being a member of 
the legislature. Dobbin was now in a position to repay his debt, 
and on this and other occasions stood between the minister and his 
chief when the latter's patience was sorely tried by Wheeler's 
ill-concealed friendliness toward his fellow-countrymen.^ 

The months of October and November, 1855, brought many new 
experiences to the Granadinos. For a quarter of a century their 

^ MS., Dept. of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, American States, In- 
structions, XV., 251 ; House Ex. Doc. 103, 34 Cong., 1 Sesa., 35, 39, 51. 

' John H. Wheeler was born in Murf reesboro. North Carolina, on Aug. 2, 1806. He 
served in the legislature from 1827 to 1830, was an unsuccessful candidate for Con- 
gress in 1830, and was a member of the board of commissioners to adjudicate the 
French Spoliation Claims from 1831-34. He was superintendent of the mint at 
Charlotte, North Carolina, from 1837-41, state treasurer, 1841-42, and again a mem- 
ber of the legislature in 1852. He became minister to Nicaragua in 1854, and after his 
recall lived in Washington till the outbreak of the Civil War. The years 1803-65 
were spent in Europe collecting materials for a history of North Carolina. He had 
already published a history of his State in 1851, but he planned a larger edition. 
Feeble health, however, interfered with his work and prevented its completion. 
He was an industrious compiler of scrap books. About twenty of these are in the 
Library of Congress, and four of them deal with Walker's career in Nicaragua. A 
clipping in one of them indicates that he had also planned a history of the filibuster 
movement. Ashe, Biographical History of North Carolina, III., 472. 


city had served as a political storm centre, and they had become 
used to war and war's alarms. They had seen the plaza with 
comparative regularity barricaded by their friends and besieged 
and bombarded by their enemies. But now peace seemed to reign 
supreme. The streets were no longer patrolled by the bare-legged 
and dark-skinned soldiers clad in dingy white, with officers always 
on the alert to prevent their deserting the detested duties. Taller 
men, of fairer hue and heavily bearded, wearing wide-brimmed 
wool hats, blue flannel shirts, and corduroy or jean trousers tucked 
into heavy boots, with a brace of pistols and a bowie knife in each 
belt and a trusty rifle on each right shoulder, were now the masters 
of Granada. It seemed that a new civilization was about to be 
engrafted upon the older and decadent one. Six days after the 
capture of the city Fry arrived with sixty additional recruits. 
Three of these, being musically inclined, secured a fife and two 
drums and in the twilight paraded the plaza, playing tunes that were 
strange to the native ear. The Americans fell in behind the musi- 
cians, and the procession marched to the quarters of their leader, 
who was serenaded with "Yankee Doodle" and "Hail, Columbia." 
When the music had ceased there were loud calls of "Colonel 
Walker! Colonel Walker!" The "colonel" appeared. On such 
occasions a speech is of course inevitable. " Fellow citizens and 
soldiers," said he, "this is, perhaps, the first time such music has 
been heard on the plaza of Granada ; let us hope that it may be 
heard through future ages." ^ Thus we see transplanted into the 
heart of Central America a little scene typical of American life in 
the great republic of the North. There is hardly a village in the 
United States that has not at some time or other serenaded its 
leading citizen and called for a speech. 

On the following day, just a week after the capture of the city, 
another American innovation appeared in the form of a newspaper 
printed in English and Spanish. This was a weekly journal 

1 El Nicaraguense, Oct. 20, 1856. 


entitled El Nicaraguense, issued every Saturday. The subscrip- 
tion price was ten dollars a year, and each copy sold for twenty 
cents, payable, presiunably, in Nicaraguan scrip. The first issue 
contains an account of Walker's progress from his leaving San 
Francisco to his capture of Granada. Two columns are devoted 
to a description of Nicaragua's resources, and were written evi- 
dently for readers in the United States. The second issue gives the 
latest news concerning the Crimean War. The issue of December 
8 has even an original love poem on the first page and chronicles 
the birth of a young American, who was christened William Walker 
Wallace. A man who in such a short time could set to work such 
a civilizing agency as the printing press was something more 
than the mere bandit or marauder that he has sometimes been 

Walker's paper was responsible for the soubriquet "Grey-Eyed 
Man of Destiny," which was frequently applied to him from this 
time on. In 1850 a Baptist missionary named Frederick Crowe 
published a book entitled The Gospel in Central America. In this 
he mentioned an old Indian tradition to the effect that the aborig- 
ines would some day be delivered from Spanish oppression by 
a "grey-eyed man." El Nicaraguense on December 8 called 
attention to this tradition, and added : " If we were disposed to 
believe that the race of prophets did not die with Isaiah and 
Jeremiah (and why should they?) we could say that this tradi- 
tionary prophecy has been fulfilled to the letter. *The Grey- 
Eyed Man' has come. He has come not as an Attila or a Guardi- 
ola, but as a friend to the oppressed and a protector to the helpless 
and unoffending. The prophecy is deemed by the Indians as 
fulfilled ; for last week we saw in Granada a delegation of them, 
who rarely visit this city, who desired to see General Walker. 

* There is an incomplete file of El Nicaraguense, containing most of the numbers 
from Oct. 20, 1855, to Aug. 9, 1856, in the archives of the State Department at 


They were charmed by his gentle reception, and offered to him 
their heartfelt thanks for their liberation from oppression and 
for the present state of quiet of this country. They laid at his feet 
the simple offering of their fruits and fields and hailed him as the 
'Grey-Eyed Man' so long and anxiously awaited by their fathers." 
Thus the only impressive physical feature of the filibuster leader 
was made to serve as proof that his coming was the fulfilment of 
prophecy. "The Grey-Eyed Man of Destiny" was twice and 
thrice blessed with an enterprising press agent. 

In the meantime things had not been going well with Kinney in 
Greytown, and he resolved to form, if possible, some sort of offen- 
sive and defensive alliance with Walker. Accordingly, Joseph 
Fabens and a Captain Swift were despatched to Granada with a 
score or more of followers and reached the city the day after the 
execution of Corral. Walker greeted them courteously, and after 
much circumlocution the "ambassadors" finally broached the ob- 
ject of their mission, a union of the two adventurers for their 
reciprocal advantage. There was no hedging in the reply of 
Walker: "Tell Governor Kinney, or Colonel Kinney, or Mr. 
Kinney, or whatever he chooses to call himself, that if I ever lay 
hands on him on Nicaraguan soil I shall surely hang him." Visions 
of the fate of Corral and of Mayorga rose before the excited imag- 
inations of the "ambassadors" ; they decided that it would not be 
healthy to return to Greytown, and the entire delegation then and 
there deserted Kinney and enrolled under the rising star of Walker.^ 
El Nicaraguense now heaped ridicule upon the governor of Grey- 
town, whom it contemptuously designated as "Farmer Kinney." 
There were two reasons why Walker should oppose Kinney. In 
the first place, the Nicaraguan government had never recognized 
the legal existence of the Mosquito kingdom, which was the foun- 
dation of all Kinney's claims. In the second place, Walker had 
gained the favour of the Accessory Transit Company, whereas 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 5, p. 59 ; New York Herald, Jan. 30, 1856. 


Kinney and the company were breathing fearful threats against 
each other. 

In spite of the defection of Fabens, Swift, and many more of his 
followers, Kinney persisted in remaining at Greytown and asserting 
his claims to the whole of the Shepherd-Haly grant. On the 8th 
of February, 1856, Rivas, the provisional president, at Walker's 
instigation, issued a decree declaring the right of Nicaragua to the 
territory called Mosquito to be incontestable and the claims of 
Kinney to be null and void and an attempt against the integrity of 
Central America.^ Some of Walker's men were personal friends 
of Kinney and sought to use their good offices to effect a mutual 
understanding between the two. Carlos Thomas, Walker's treas- 
urer-general, and Colonel Fisher, who has already been referred 
to, visited Greytown and urged Kinney to see Walker in person, 
Thomas pledging his life for Kinney's security. The latter thought 
this practically an official invitation, and reached Granada unan- 
nounced on February 11, as fate would have it, just three days 
after the issue of the proclamation mentioned above. Kinney, 
who had thought Walker in a conciliatory mood, was therefore 
greatly surprised at the status of affairs on his arrival. Walker 
was equally surprised at Kinney's coming, but received him 
courteously, probably thinking that he was ready to surrender 
and follow the example of Fabens. The governor of Greytown 
proposed to recognize the military authority of Walker over the 
Mosquito kingdom if the latter would recognize Kinney's civil 
government. This was equivalent to a proposition that Walker 
should use his forces to protect Kinney in his possessions and receive 
nothing in return. The commander-in-chief cited the recent 
decree to the effect that the territory belonged to Nicaragua. 
Kinney retorted that the land was his by purchase ; that a hundred 
thousand dollars had already been spent in connection with the 

1 New York Herald, Feb. 29, 1856, contains the decree copied from El Nicaragu' 
enae of Feb. 16. 


grant, and that he would not surrender it until legal means had 
been employed to determine the title. Walker announced that 
the government determined such questions for itself, and inquired 
whether Kinney was in a position to render any service to the Rivas 
administration. The latter stated that he could bring a large 
number of immigrants, negotiate a loan, and use his political 
influence to secure recognition of the new government by the 
United States. The two then parted, with the understanding that 
they were to consult further on the next day. Before they met 
again, however, Kinney committed an egregious blunder. He 
met Rivas and some of his cabinet and explained his colonizing 
schemes to them, affirming, it is said, that one colonist was worth 
five soldiers, and that an overgrown army, such as Walker was 
accumulating, would devour the substance of the country. Busy 
tongues carried this conversation to Walker, and when Kinney 
called upon him to learn his decision as to the propositions of the 
previous day, he met with a cold reception. The commander-in- 
chief told his visitor that he desired no further communication 
with him, as he had been using very improper language in dis- 
cussing government matters, and added, as he left the room, that 
he had ordered Kinney's arrest. Shortly afterwards he was placed 
under arrest on a charge of treason, and Walker would undoubtedly 
have carried out his previous threat to hang him if he had not been 
notified of the condition under which Kinney had come to Granada. 
Kinney was therefore released and sent away under a special escort. 
The passport which Walker furnished him was couched in very 
insulting language.^ ^ 

1 The New York Herald produced what purported to be a copy : — 

Feb. 14, 1856. 
Mr. Theo J. Martin will be allowed to pass freely from this place to San Juan del 
Norte. No authority will place any impediment in his way. 
Mr. H. L. Kinney goes in charge of Mr. Martin to San Juan. 

William Walker, 
General in Chief of the Army of Nicaragua. 
All but the last sentence of the passport is in the usual form. 


Like most of Walker^s acts, his treatment of Kinney made him 
more enemies than friends. Among American politicians of influ- 
ence Kinney had many warm friends, and they resented Walker's 
conduct. Even Franklin Pierce is said to have shared this 
feeling.^ The rest of Kinney's career may be briefly told. 
For some months after the events just narrated he managed to 
vegetate in Greytown, but finally surrendered his governorship 
and departed sick and penniless. In 1857 he managed to interest 
some English Mormons in his grant, and one of their agents agreed 
to buy one-half of the territory. On the strength of this agreement 
he borrowed a sum of money from some Panama merchants, and with 
several companions sailed to Greytown, where he landed on April 
19, 1858. They attempted to take possession of the government, 
but were arrested and placed in the guard-house. Captain C. H. 
Kennedy, of the United States ship Jamestown, then intervened in 
their behalf, and received the prisoners aboard his vessel after they 
had given their solemn promise in writing not to return to Grey- 
town except with peaceful intentions toward the local authorities. 
Kinney then went to Aspinwall, and from there took passage to 
the United States. In the autumn of this year he was back in 
Texas, where some of his friends were trying to persuade him to 
become a candidate for governor. In 1861 he was shot and killed 
in Matamoros, where he had become involved in the quarrels 
between the Rohos and the Crinolinos.* 

» New York Herald, Feb. 29, 1856 ; Jamison, With Walker in Nicaragua, 126. 

> Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, p. 305; New York Herald, May 31, 1858; British 
State Papers, XL VIII., 661-2 ; Harper's Weekly, II., 678 (Oct. 23, 1858) ; ThraU, 
Pictorial History of Texas, 579. 


Filibusters and Financiers 

It has already been shown that the Transit Company had 
allowed Walker to use one of its steamers to capture Granada and 
shortly thereafter had advanced the new government the sum of 
twenty thousand dollars in gold. Having observed this mani- 
festation of its good intentions, the commander-in-chief, whose 
situation was still extremely critical, wrote to Crittenden, urging 
him to make some arrangement with Garrison for sending five 
hundred Americans to Nicaragua as soon as possible on his com- 
pany's steamers. In doing this, Walker naturally avoided con- 
sulting Rivas and his cabinet. Garrison received the proposal 
kindly, and every steamer to San Juan del Sur brought its quota 
of recruits, practically all of whom were carried at the company's 
expense. At length, in December, 1855, Garrison sent his son, 
accompanied by Edmund Randolph and C. J. McDonald, to 
Granada to make arrangements with Walker for securing some 
return for the assistance rendered ; for it must not be supposed 
that such a practical, self-made business man as the San Francisco 
manager had been acting from altruistic motives. With young 
Garrison, as an earnest of his father's friendly attitude, came a 
hundred more recruits, who, as usual, received free passage. Ran- 
dolph now revealed to Walker the agreement which Crittenden 
had made with Garrison, whereby the American forces were to 
be recruited. The Transit Company, he explained, had failed 
to fulfil its obligations to the State and had forfeited its right 
to corporate existence. It was proposed, therefore, that Walker 
should secure the annulment of its charter and obtain a new 



concession for the benefit of Garrison and the New York manager, 
Charles Morgan, whom Garrison proposed to associate with 
himself.^ In return for this favour Morgan and Garrison were 
to transport to Nicaragua free of charge any and every person 
who cared to go. The why and the wherefore of the visit of 
McDonald and of the loan of twenty thousand dollars in October 
now becomes readily apparent. Garrison was doing this at the 
expense of the company but for his own personal benefit. 

It was generally known in the United States during the au- 
tumn of 1855 that the Transit Company was rendering Walker 
valuable services, and the prevailing opinion was that the expe- 
dition had been fitted out by the oflBcials of this corporation in 
the hope of introducing a stable element into Nicaragua and 
thus putting an end to the revolutions that were so injurious to 
the company's interests.^ It has already been shown, however, 

' Charles Morgan and Cornelius K. Garrison were associated as partners in the 
San Francisco banking firm of Garrison, Morgan, Rolston and Fretz, and were 
prominent American captains of industry in the middle of the nineteenth century. 
Morgan was born at Clinton, Connecticut, April 21, 1795. At fourteen he was a 
grocer's clerk in New York ; later he began the importation of tropical fruits and 
thus became interested in shipping. He started the first steamer between New 
York and Charleston, and in 1836 inaugurated a line from New Orleans to Galves- 
ton, even before Texas had gained her independence. This is the germ of the well- 
known "Morgan Line" of to-day. See L. E. Staunton, Dedication of the Morgan 
School Building (New York, 1873) ; and N. H. Morgan, Morgan Genealogy (Hart- 
ford, 1869). 

Cornelius K. Garrison, like his associate Morgan, was a self-made man, bom 
March 1, 1809, near West Point, New York. He worked on river boats when a 
boy and later became a builder of steamboats. For a time he was connected with 
several transportation enterprises on the Mississippi River. After the gold fever 
began he opened a bank in Panama, and in 1853 went to San Francisco and became 
manager of the Accessory Transit Company. In October of this year he was chosen 
mayor of the city. After accumulating a fortune in the West, he returned to New 
York City in 1859 and retained his interest in the steamship business. See O. T. 
Shuck, Representative Men of the Pacific Coast, 143-64 (San Francisco, 1870) ; 
Bancroft, California, VI., 766 n. 

» The Philadelphia American and Gazette, Nov. 15, 1855, contained the fol- 
lowing editorial: "Walker, it seems, represents a more substantial organization 
than a mere band of filibusters. In fact, it is generally asserted and believed that 
his expedition was projected, supported and maintained by the Transit Company. 
That corporation has a capital of three million dollars. His expedition looks too 
well organized and supplied with munitions, money and men to be based on his own 


that this idea was erroneous. The real explanation of the fa- 
vours shown Walker involves a sketch of certain stock manipu- 
lations on Wall Street and of the previous relations of the com- 
pany with the Nicaraguan government. For many months the 
stock of the Accessory Transit Company had served as a football 
on the New York exchange. Cornelius Vanderbilt, the first 
president, had retired from this position in 1853, on the eve of 
departing for his famous tour of Europe, and was succeeded by 
Charles Morgan. During Vanderbilt's absence Morgan and Gar- 
rison had manipulated the business so as to make large sums 
out of stock fluctuations and incidentally to occasion considerable 
financial losses to Vanderbilt, who was then abroad and unable 
to help himself. After Vanderbilt's return he is said to have 
sworn to get revenge. "I won't sue you," he is quoted as saying 
to his rivals, "for the law is too slow. I will ruin you." ^ At 
once there began a struggle for control of the company, with the 
odds in favour of Vanderbilt. But there was another factor to 
be reckoned with, and that was the republic of Nicaragua. The 
corporation was a creature of that government, and in return for 
its right to exist as a legal person it owed certain duties to the 
State. When the company received its first charter in 1849, it 
agreed to pay annually the sum of ten thousand dollars until the 
canal had been completed; and for the exclusive right of navi- 
gating the interior waters and opening a line of transit it agreed 
to pay ten per cent of the profits accruing from its trans-isthmian 

efforts. The company undoubtedly sent arms to Nicaragua, which fell very suspi- 
ciously into Walker's hands, and the transit steamers were yielded to him with a 
facility which is singular, in view of the small force he commanded." 

On December 14, 1855, Attorney-General Gushing wrote as follows to S. W. 
Inge and Pacificus Ord, the United States attorneys at San Francisco and Mon- 
terey, respectively : "I am directed by the President to address you further on the 
subject of the illegal military enterprises against the State of Nicaragua, which have 
been, and, as it appears, still continue to be carried on from the ports of Galifornia. 
. . . Suggestion has been made of some complicity of the Nicaragua Transit Gom- 
pany in these acts, and that point may be entitled to your consideration." Senate 
Ex. Doc. 68, 34 Gong., 1 Sess., 11. 

1 Croffut, The Vanderbilta and the Story of Their Fortune, 43 f . 


traffic. From 1849 to 1855 inclusive the corporation had paid 
regularly the annual dues of ten thousand dollars, but it had never 
seen fit to pay any of the ten per cent quota of profits, for the 
stated reason that no profits had accrued. Against this assertion 
the Nicaraguan government had no recourse, as the company's 
methods of bookkeeping gave the State nothing on which to base 
a claim. The number of passengers and the shipments of freight 
and specie were known to be very large, but the officials were 
careful to keep no records in the country that would enable the 
government to prepare a balance sheet.^ Expenditures for per- 
manent improvements, such as a pier at Virgin Bay, were said 
to have come out of current receipts. It was also alleged that the 
company had fixed a low rate for conveying passengers through 
Nicaragua with the distinct purpose of eliminating profits and 
had made its ocean rates high enough to secure an ample return 
on both its marine and trans-isthmian business.^ Just a week 
before Walker landed in Nicaragua the Legitimist government 
had appointed two agents to proceed to New York and attempt 
to settle the claim by negotiation or arbitration. The Nicaraguan 
agents, perhaps without any definite idea of what was due the 
State, claimed thirty-five thousand dollars. The company of- 
fered to settle for thirty thousand, thus admitting that it had 
avoided the payment of its just dues ; but the offer was rejected. 
Both sides then agreed to refer the matter to special commis- 
sioners for arbitration. The company, however, did all it could 
to delay matters, and before the commissioners could begin their 
work the Nicaraguan government changed hands. Walker having 
taken possession of the capital. This caused further proceedings 
toward adjusting the controversy to be abandoned.^ 

^ MS., Dept. of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Despatches, Nicaraguan 
Legation, II. 

* New York Herald, March 31, 1856. 

« Cornelius Vanderbilt to Secretary Marcy, Senate Ex. Doc. 68, 34 Cong., 1 
Sess., p. 11. 


This was the situation when Morgan and Garrison began 
to court the favour of Walker. Seeing that they were about to 
be ousted from the control of the company, they proposed to 
use Walker and checkmate their powerful rival. Their plan was 
simple ; the filibuster commander, by virtue of his authority, was 
to use the government's claim against the Transit Company as a 
ground for annulling its charter and confiscating its property, 
while Morgan and Garrison, in return for the aid they had given 
and were to give to Walker, were to receive the property of the 
defunct corporation and a charter constituting them a new com- 
pany for doing a transportation business within the territory of 
Nicaragua. Such was the plot which had germinated in the 
brains of unscrupulous captains of industry seeking to thwart 
the designs of an equally unscrupulous rival. When the scheme 
was broached to Walker he had no alternative but to become a 
party to the transaction. To refuse meant no more recruits or 
supplies from the States; it meant defeat and probably death. 
To accept meant growing strength, victory, glory, the realization 
of his fondest ambitions. "We have the power and have helped 
you ; you have the power, now help us," was virtually the ulti- 
matum of the steamship managers. Walker consented with no 
qualms of conscience. His legal training enabled him to find 
justification in law for every step of the procedure. 

About two weeks before Walker had received this proposal 
from Garrison's representatives he had secured the appointment 
of a minister to represent the Rivas government at Washington. 
This minister was none other than the rascally Parker H. French ; 
and Walker gives as the chief reason for the appointment of such 
a dubious character his desire to get the trouble-maker out of 
Nicaragua. He was too much in French's debt to dismiss him, 
and the undoubted ability and wiliness of that individual seemed 
to suggest that his talents might serve the most useful purpose if 
diverted into the devious channels of diplomacy. Among other 


duties French was instructed to present again the claim of the 
Nicaraguan government against the Accessory Transit Company. 
The arbitration of this claim, it will be recalled, had been pre- 
vented by Walker's invasion of the country. As Morgan was now 
the managftr, French found it an easy matter to make tentative 
arrangements for a settlement. It was agreed that, pending a 
determination of the exact amount due the government, the 
company should carry emigrants to Nicaragua at twenty dollars 
per passenger — a rate much lower than the usual fare — and 
that the amount due the company for their transportation should 
be charged to the State and later deducted from whatever sum 
the company might be found to owe the government. Vanderbilt 
and other prominent stockholders did not at first suspect Mor- 
gan's real designs; they knew only of the controversy between 
Nicaragua and their company and thought it advisable to grant 
French's request as a means of conciliating those in power, es- 
pecially as their own seemed to be the weaker side of the case. 
They accepted the plan with the stipulation that the men should 
go as emigrants and not in military bands. As a result, there- 
fore, of French's arrangement recruits began to reach Walker from 
the Atlantic States, and in two and a half months the company 
transported about a thousand "emigrants" to Nicaragua.^ 

This arrangement between French and Morgan had hardly 
been completed before Randolph, young Garrison, and McDon- 
ald arrived in Granada, as previously stated. Randolph and 
Walker were the closest of friends, and it was an easy matter for the 
former to convince the commander-in-chief — if indeed he needed 
any convincing — that the Accessory Transit Company had for- 
feited its right to corporate life. The two then worked out the 
details of a new charter for the benefit of Morgan and Garrison. 
As soon as the plans were completed Garrison went to New York 
to secure their approval by Charles Morgan, while McDonald 

1 Senate Ex. Doc. 68, 34 Cong., 1 Sess., pp. 120-121. 


returned to San Francisco to obtain the ratification of the elder 
Garrison. Until these two returned to Granada Walker and 
Randolph merely bided their time. The visit of the well-known 
San Francisco attorney to Walker was noted in his home city, 
and it was commonly reported that the object of his mission was to 
assist Walker in drafting a constitution for the new government.^ 
This idea was perhaps suggested merely by the fact that Walker'^ 
friend bore the name of one of the fathers of the American con- 

Meanwhile recruiting for Nicaragua was conducted openly and 
extensively in San Francisco, New York, and New Orleans. After 
it became generally known in California that passengers would 
be carried to Nicaragua free of charge there were more volunteers 
in San Francisco than could be accommodated, and the departure 
of a Transit steamer was sometimes accompanied by much dis- 
order and rioting on the part of those who were forcibly left be- 
hind.^ In New York and New Orleans advertisements were 
placed in the newspapers to attract volunteers.^ 

This activity brought forth protests from Senores Molina and 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 5, p. 61. 

* The Alta California, Dec. 6, 1855, notes that there were 400 passengers anxious 
to leave for Nicaragua, but only 150 could be taken on the last steamer. On the 
10th it notes that E. J. C. Kewen, a brother of Achilles Kewen killed in the first 
engagement at Rivas, was trying to secure one of the idle steamers in the harbour 
to take recruits to Nicaragua. On the 2l8t it reports the sailing of the Cortez, with 
350 passengers, 124 of them being Nicaraguan emigrants. Twenty-five had smug- 
gled themselves on board without tickets and were marched off. Garrison himself 
inspected the vessel to see that the law was not violated. 

' In December, 1855, the following harmless-looking advertisement appeared in 
the journals of New York : "Wanted. — Ten or fifteen young men to go a short 
distance out of the city. Single men preferred. Apply at 347 Broadway, corner 
of Leonard Street, room 12, between hours of ten and four. Passage paid." 

The notice in the New Orleans papers was more exp Licit : "Nicaragua. — The 
Government of Nicaragua is desirous of having its lands settled and cultivated by 
an industrious class of people, and offers as an inducement to emigrants, a donation 
of Two Hundred and Fifty Acres of Land for single persons, and One Hundred 
Acres additional to persons of family. Steamers leave New Orleans for San Juan 
on the 11th and 26th of each month. The fare is now reduced to less than half the 
former rates. The undersigned will be happy to give information to those who are 
desirous of emigrating. Thoa. F. Fisher, 16 Royal St." 


Irisarri, the ministers from Costa Rica and from Guatemala and 
San Salvador respectively. The latter complained of the in- 
difference of the officials toward filibustering, and the former 
accused the Transit Company of having conspired to overthrow 
the Legitimist government, which had threatened it with a law- 
suit ; and he expressed the hope that since he had named the cul- 
prits the American government would call them to account.^ A 
week after the protest of Irisarri President Pierce issued a procla- 
mation warning all persons against participating in any way in 
the fitting out of expeditions to Nicaragua, and stating that those 
who went, whether organized or unorganized, to take part in the 
military operations in that country should forfeit the protection 
of the United States government. He urged all good citizens 
to discountenance such disreputable and criminal undertakings 
and charged all civil and military authorities to maintain the 
authority and enforce the laws of the United States.^ 

Attorney-General Gushing also addressed a circular letter on 
the same date to the district attorneys in the principal ports of 
the United States, stating that his department had received 
information of unlawful enlistments for Nicaragua and urging 
these officials to take measures to detect and defeat such enter- 
prises and to notify the President if there should be occasion for 
the exercise of his authority. John McKeon, the district at- 
torney at New York, replied that he had no information of any 
filibustering movement there, but about a week later he reported 
that Parker H. French was then engaged in recruiting. About 
the same time the Federal attorney at New Orleans notified the 
collector of the port to keep a sharp lookout on the steamer Geiv- 
eral Scott. Gushing on the 14th sent additional instructions to 
S. W. Inge, the district attorney at San Francisco, asking him to 

» MS., Department of State, Central American Republic, Notes, 184^51 
Central American Legations, Notes, 1844-57. 

« Messages and Papers of the Presidents, V., 388-89. 


investigate the reports of the complicity of the Transit Company 
in the recruiting activities.^ All reports seemed to indicate that 
a great exodus to Nicaragua was about to begin, and the govern- 
ment was taking such steps as it could to nip it in the bud. Events 
soon showed, however, that the government could do practically 
nothing in the face of a public opinion favourable to the emigrants. 
The first serious attempt to enforce the neutrality laws was 
made in New York City by District Attorney McKeon. On the 
22d of December, about ten days after French's arrival, rumours 
reached McKeon that there would be a rendezvous of Nicaraguan 
recruits that evening and that they would sail on the 24th on the 
Transit Company's steamer Northern Light. McKeon himself 
went to the designated place of meeting and found a number of 
prospective recruits there but not the leaders, who had evidently 
scented trouble and stayed away. As a result, there was no meet- 
ing, and the "emigrants" were a rather disappointed lot; but 
not more so than the district attorney. He now betook himself 
to the headquarters of Joseph L. White, the attorney and one of 
the directors of the company, and also to the apartments of French 
in the St. Nicholas Hotel. He made many threats, but was 
treated very disdainfully by both. He shouted at French that 
he would seize every vessel of the Transit Company and break up 
the line, whereupon the latter replied very coolly: "My coun- 
try is poor, to be sure ; but if you will let us know when you are 
going to sell those vessels we shall probably buy them in." Mc- 
Keon demanded certain information; French handed him paper 
and ink and requested that he submit his questions in writing, as 
the conversation was important. The attorney then lost his 
temper and shouted that he would do no such thing, as he did 
not recognize French as minister from Nicaragua. "I did not 
ask you to do that ; and it is quite immaterial whether you recog- 
nize me or not. Address your queries, if you please, then, to Par- 

» Senate Ex. Doc. 68, 34 Cong., 1 Sess., 11. 


ker H. French as an individual, and I must insist on your writing 
them." McKeon then stated that he had undoubted proof of 
French's criminality. The latter retorted that if this were so the 
attorney should have brought along a warrant, but since he had 
neglected that duty he (French) would waive that formality and 
submit to arrest without it.^ McKeon then left in anger, and the 
next morning ordered the customs officers to refuse a clearance 
to the Northern Light, as there was reason to believe that she would 
sail the following day with several hundred recruits for the ser- 
vice of Walker. Through some blunder a clearance was given to 
the Northern Light and refused to another of the company's ves- 
sels instead, and on the scheduled hour the steamer put to sea 
almost under the nose of the district attorney. A revenue cutter 
was sent down the bay in pursuit and stopped the steamer by 
sending a solid shot across her bows. An investigation showed 
that there were on board about two hundred steerage passengers 
who from their unkempt appearance suggested recruits for Nic- 
aragua. A number of these were placed under arrest, among 
them being Joseph R. Male, the editor of El Nicaraguense, who 
had gone to New York to purchase printing supplies. On being 
questioned, some of the recruits gave the details of a rather unique 
enlistment. Several nights before the steamer was to leave a 
rendezvous was held, and every man who avowed his intention 
of going to Nicaragua received a common black pantaloons but- 
ton, which was to be an "open sesame" to the ship. Each man 
was told to hand his button to an officer as he went aboard, and 
to receive a passenger ticket in return.^ 

While the Northern Light was detained she was searched for 
arms, and when none were found she was allowed to proceed, 
though a revenue cutter accompanied her down the bay to make 
sure that no men or munitions of war were taken aboard before 
the vessel reached the high seas. The government's intervention 

1 New York Herald. Dec. 24. 1855. « New York Tribune, Dec. 25, 1855. 


had at least one effect. It interfered with the schedules and 
kept the passengers from California waiting for two and a half 
days for this steamer at Greytown, where they were supposed to 
find it ready and waiting to take them to New York. 

On December 26 a United States commissioner issued a 
warrant for the arrest of French, charging him with violation of 
the neutrality laws. French claimed exemption on the ground of 
his diplomatic character, and the puzzled district attorney ap- 
plied for advice to the attorney-general. Gushing replied that 
the American government had not recognized French as the lawful 
representative of Nicaragua, and that the extension of any dip- 
lomatic privileges to him would be a matter of mere courtesy and 
not of right. The district attorney was further directed to notify 
French, on the authority of the President, that no legal process 
would issue against him if he would leave the country within a 
reasonable time.^ French made no haste to leave, and on Janu- 
ary 15 he and his secretary, Daniel H. Dillingham, were in- 
dicted by a Federal grand jury. With them were indicted nine 
persons taken from the Northern Light. The charge against all 
of them was violation of the neutrality laws. It had also become 
known that an official attached to the office of the United States 
marshal had been sent aboard the steamer to prevent her de- 
parture and had served papers on the captain, E. L. Tinkelpaugh, 
and the engineer, Gilbert Fowler. The Northern Light had started 
to sea anyhow with the process-server on board. This incident 
led to the indictment on January 18 of the captain and en- 
gineer, and along with them of Joseph L. White, who was al- 
leged to be jointly responsible, for interfering with an officer in the 
discharge of his duty. Their trial took place some months later ; 
the case against the engineer was dropped on account of a flaw 
in the indictment, and White and Tinkelpaugh were acquitted.^ 

» Senate Ex. Doc. 68, 34 Cong., 1 Sess. 
* New York Herald, May 9 and 13, 1856. 


Another of the company's steamers, the Star of the West, was to 
sail on the 9th of January. Shortly before the horn* of departure 
the authorities went aboard and made a thorough search of the 
vessel, arresting five men. There were a large number on board 
with tickets for Greytown, but they all declared that they were 
labourers employed to work on a new pier which the company 
was building at Virgin Bay. This explanation was accepted, 
and they were not molested. One of the passengers was James 
E. Kerrigan, an ex-councilman of New York, who was taking a 
company of twenty-eight vagabonds from the fourth and sixth 
wards. The officials gave him no trouble. Kerrigan's company 
was designed to be part of a New York regiment, which it was 
planned to recruit for Nicaragua. Associated with him in raising 
the company were two Mexican War veterans, Thomas L. Bailey 
and Henry Dusenbury. Expecting excitement, a large crowd 
gathered on the pier at the hour of the steamer's departure, and 
while the search was going on they hooted and jeered the officials. 
When the steamer left the dock, only fifteen minutes after the 
scheduled time, Kerrigan appeared on the paddle box and was 
loudly cheered. There were also groans and hisses for Pierce.^ 

On January 24 the Northern Light was due to sail again. 
A diligent search revealed nothing, but one passenger, an eighteen- 
year-old boy, was arrested at the request of his father. He had 
a ticket when arrested, but managed to slip it into the hands of 
another would-be filibuster on the dock, and Walker probably got 
his recruit anyway. The youth was taken to the district at- 
torney's office, but no effort would make him divulge the name 
of the man who had given him the ticket, and he indignantly 
avowed his determination to go "anyhow, some time or other." 
When asked why he wished to go, he replied, "For fun." ^ Fruit- 
less as this search appeared, there were about one hundred filibus- 

1 New York Tribune, Jan. 30, 1856 ; New York Herald, Jan. 10 and 30, 1856. 
« New York Herald, Jan. 25, 1856. 


ters on board. Some of these, on their way out, organized the 
"Young America Pioneer Club," whose purpose was to provide 
a club and reading-rooms and to do everything possible for the 
interests of the members after they reached Granada. 

The impotence of the government is easily explained. There 
were always on the steamers, besides the recruits for Walker, 
large numbers of passengers bound to California or the East, as 
the case might be, on their legitimate business. There was no 
way of distinguishing between these and the filibusters, as no 
man on board would admit that he belonged to the latter class. 
Every man had a ticket and claimed to be a regular passenger, 
and only when positive evidence had been obtained against 
them before their embarkation were individuals arrested on the 

District Attorney McKeon protested to White against the 
company's repeated flaunting of the neutrality laws. This 
brought from the Transit attorney an insolent rejoinder: the 
company was "a corporate body, created by the law of Nica- 
ragua," and was compelled to recognize the government that was 
in power in that country; the conduct of the corporation would 
never be influenced by the government of the United States, nor 
did the district attorney's "grandiloquent boasting" that he 
would break up its business have any terrors for it.^ White was 
described by one journal as having "a wonderful itching pro- 
pensity for notoriety," and was accused of egging on the crowds 
which jeered and hissed the officials engaged in searching the 
steamers.^ In defence of the company's course toward Walker 
he gave to the press several letters addressed to himself from per- 
sons in Nicaragua. The general tenor of these was that the lives 
and property of Americans in that country would be unsafe 
without Walker's presence, and that the Transit Company would 

» Wheeler Scrapbook no. 2, p. 46 ; New York Tribune, December 25, 1855. 
* New Orleans Commercial Bulletin, Jan. 4, 1856. 


suffer as much as any individual if the filibuster were overthrown.* 
White little suspected that the men whose cause he now so vocif- 
erously championed were engaged at that very moment in digging 
a pit into which the Accessory Transit Company was soon to fall. 
Feeling sure of his position, he had sneeringly defied the American 
government, not dreaming that within three months he would be 
appealing to this same government for protection against the 
men he had befriended. Nevertheless, White and French for the 
time being rode a high horse, and McKeon received little or no 
sympathy in his efforts to prevent filibustering in New York. 
In fact, the more vigorously he prosecuted the Transit Company, 
which had never before enjoyed even a slight measure of public 
esteem, the more it seemed to grow in popular favour. And as a 
large part of the recruits belonged to the floating element of the 
slums and river front, there was not the slightest objection from 
anyone to their leaving town. Why should the government try 
to prevent a free citizen's going and coming as he pleased if he 
did not interfere with the rights of his neighbours? Did not 
Nicaragua have a right to invite colonists to settle within her 
borders, and did not Americans have the right to accept the in- 
vitation if they wished ? Is England operating behind the scenes 
in this mysterious pantomime ? Such were a few of the questions 
which American citizens were disposed to ask. Forty years of 
isolation from foreign politics and only weakling republics for our 
neighbours, had operated to reduce oiu- sense of international 
obligations almost to the vanishing point. 

As to French, he became a popular hero in spite of himself. 
He could now indulge his grandiose delusions to his heart's con- 
tent. After his indictment by the grand jury he scorned to claim 
exemption from arrest, as he had done on a previous occasion; 
for he now felt that public sentiment was active in his behalf and 
that the indictment was really an asset. On the afternoon that 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 5, p. 9&. 


the bill was returned against him a deputy marshal proceeded 
to the "Legation" at the hotel, notified him that he was under 
arrest, and ordered him to report on the following morning to the 
United States marshal. But the government had no idea of 
creating any further sympathy for French than he then enjoyed, 
and as soon as the blunder was discovered the same deputy was 
sent back to the hotel post haste with notice to French that the 
order for his arrest had been countermanded. Thereat French 
was grievously disappointed, for he had already resolved to pose 
as a martyr. He now waived all claim of exemption and de- 
manded an immediate trial. The district attorney demurred; 
French's lawyers then went before the United States Circuit 
Court and sought to compel McKeon to put the case on the 
docket. The court stated, however, that it had no authority to 
order the district attorney to prosecute a case, and there the 
matter ended. ^ In this matter the government, it must be ad- 
mitted, came out second best. Had French been let severely 
alone the public would soon have estimated him at his real worth 
and also have let him severely alone. As it was, the Nicaraguan 
movement got an immense amount of free advertising and a 
large amount of public sympathy thrown into the bargain. As 
in the case of the prosecution in California a year previously, the 
vigilance of the prosecutors was regarded as due to no horror of 
filibustering or excessive regard for the rights of a weak neighbour. 
Commenting on the trials of certain filibusters a short time after 
these events. Harper's Weekly declared them "all a farce kept 
up for form's sake." ^ The New York Atlas exclaimed, "When 
will this child's play cease ? Like India rubber. North American 
filibusters jump higher every time they are stricken down; and 
all such opposition recently made to their movements, by the 
instructions of the President and his cabinet, only increases their 
numbers and emboldens them to cling more tenaciously to their 

1 New York Herald and Sun, Jan. 18, 1856. « Vol. I., p. 103. 


enterprise." ^ The Cincinnati Columbian denounced the gov- 
ernmental interference as "a sop thrown to the British." ^ The 
New York Times, too, declared that the Transit Company had a 
real grievance in the damage to its business that would neces- 
sarily follow from the government's searching its steamers be- 
fore sailing and firing across their course after they had gotten 
under way. It was unreasonable, it said, to demand that the 
company ignore Walker's government, which was a fixed fact, 
Marcy's laboured arguments to the contrary notwithstanding.* 
McKeon's strenuous activities seemed to be an occasion for 
mirth, as the following bit of doggerel, inspired by the Northern 
Light affair, will indicate : 

"The oflBcer a warrant had to search the vessel through ; 
From deck to keel, from stem to stern, he must his duty do. 
Beneath her coal, within her berths, were articles of war. 
Between her sheets were rogues and thieves, and lawless men a score. 
Her traffic was against the State, her boilers full of treason. 
In fact, for her detention he gave most urgent reason. 
And White agreed she should lay to and undergo the fuss. 
McKeon rose, he took his leave, they parted with a cuss. 

"The morning dawned, from stem to stern, from deck to keel they mussed 

Arrested every man on board as a rabid filibuster. 
Some searched about, some watched aloft that none ashore should pass ; 
They overhauled the coal below, and found beneath it — gas. 
They searched each hole, each nook and crack, barrel, box, and trunk. 
And found at last an appetite for biscuits, ale and junk. 

"Must every ship that helps the poor to plenty's foreign soil 

Be treated hke a slave, her freight a lawless spoil ? 

The Eagle bold that guards our shore is clothed in Freedom's mail ; 

Her strongest pinion proudly fills each vessel's swelling sail. 

She spreads her wings upon the bow and steers the Northern Light, 

Who, though her acts are counted black, her agency is White." * 

» Jan. 20, 1856. « Wheeler Scrapbook no. 5, p. 62. 

» Feb. 7, 1856 ; also Wheeler Scrapbook no. 5, p. 81. 
* Wheeler Scrapbook no. 5, p. 72. 


There is every indication that during the month of January, 
1856, public sentiment was running strongly in Walker's favour. 
Federal authorities therefore fulminated in vain. It was only in 
New York that any serious effort was made to prevent the de- 
parture of the expeditionists. In San Francisco the government 
had shot its last bolt when it prosecuted, without results, Wat- 
kins, Emory, Walker, and the two consuls in 1854. District 
Attorney Inge now told Attorney-General Gushing that he could 
obtain no evidence that would justify the seizure of a vessel. 
Though many persons had gone to Nicaragua to aid Walker, 
they had gone without visible arms and without organization, 
some avowing their purpose of settling as peaceful immigrants, 
others with through tickets to New York and claiming to be 
regular passengers.^ In New Orleans a similar favourable senti- 
ment prevailed. There in April 208 men embarked to the strains 
of a so-called Nicaraguan band, and the newspapers announced 
their departure beforehand. In May, 1856, Senor Molina 
complained to Marcy that not one of the filibusters arrested by 
the government had been convicted.^ Verily the mountain had 
laboured, and there was not even a mouse to console it for its 

This happened to be a case, however, in which it was the gov- 
ernment's turn to laugh last. We have left Randolph and Walker 
in Granada awaiting the return of their emissaries to Morgan and 
Garrison. Young Garrison, whom they had sent to New York, 
was there during some of the recruiting episodes just described, 
and after securing Morgan's consent to the arrangements he re- 
turned to Granada. McDonald's mission to the elder Garrison 
was equally successful. Walker and Randolph now decided that 
the time had arrived to spring the trap. With much painstaking, 
therefore, they drew up a decree of revocation setting forth the 

1 Senate Ex. Doc. 68, 34 Cong., 1 Sess. 

' MS., Dept. of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, notes, Central America, I. 


shortcomings of the company; it had agreed to build a canal, 
or, if that proved impracticable, a railroad or a rail and carriage 
road ; it had agreed to pay ten per cent of its annual net profits 
to the State, and had done none of these things. Walker says 
that this decree was to state the causes so that the whole world 
might judge, and that it was drawn with exceeding care. For 
these shortcomings the charter of the company was revoked, a 
commission was appointed to determine the exact amount of its 
indebtedness to the State, and the property was ordered to be 
seized and held subject to the commissioners' directions. The 
Nicaraguans had never cherished kindly feelings toward the 
Transit oflScials, and it was with undisguised pleasure that Rivas, 
who had been kept in ignorance of the scheme, attached his sig- 
nature, on February 18, to the decree of revocation. There are 
indications too that he was already becoming alarmed at the great 
influx of armed Americans and was glad that the company which 
was responsible for their coming was to be broken asunder. But 
on the following day the joy of the provisional president was 
transmuted into fear ; for Walker brought him a second decree, 
which bestowed a new charter upon Edmund Randolph and his 
associates. Rivas was thinking that he had rid the country of 
the hated corporation, and here it was proposed to grant even 
greater privileges upon a strange man whom he had seen in close 
communication with the commander-in-chief for many weeks. 
In most matters Walker had found the provisional president a 
pliant tool, but the latter now showed unwonted firmness, and 
declared that his signature to such a document would mean "a 
sale of the country." It was not till many of the privileges granted 
by the decree were stricken out that Rivas would sign it, and even 
then he did so with reluctance.^ Although these decrees were 

1 El Nicaragtiense, Feb. 23, 1856 ; Senate Executive Document 194, 47 Cong., 
1 Sess., 103-04; New York Tribune, May 14-15, 1856; Wells, Walker'8 Ex- 
pedition, 203-20 ; Walker, War in Nicaragua, 162-6. 


signed on February 18 and 19, their publication was delayed 
somewhat in order to give the grantees of the new charter as much 
time as practicable to prepare for business before the steamers 
of the old company should be withdrawn. This delay proved 
more advantageous than Walker had expected; for nine days 
after the decree had been signed two hundred and fifty recruits 
under the Cuban "liberator," Domingo de Goicouria, left New 
Orleans for service in Nicaragua, their passage having been paid 
with drafts on Vanderbilt, who had ousted Morgan and become 
president of the Company early in February. Had the decree 
been published the day it was signed, Vanderbilt would have 
received the news before these men embarked and would have 
prevented their departure. "As it was," says Walker, "the 
price of these passages was so much secured by the State on the 
indebtedness due the corporation." ^ Morgan thus knew of the 
annulment of the charter of the Accessory Transit Company be- 
fore the news reached Vanderbilt, and he must have derived no 
little satisfaction from seeing his rival, who a few weeks before had 
forced him from the presidency, now spending his company^s 
good money in aid of the man who had already duped him. 

Walker in this way repaid the favours he had been receiving 
from the company's two managers. He had acted partly from 
a feeling of obligation and partly from a feeling of necessity. 
Without the opportune aid from this source his expedition would 
long ago have ended in failure. To Morgan and Garrison he 
owed most of his present success, and he had placed them in a 
position where they could aid him still more and enable him to 
reach the goal of his ambitions. But unfortunately for his cause, 
he had at the same time raised up a terrible enemy in the person 
of Vanderbilt. He could not foresee, of course, when he entered 
into the scheme suggested by Randolph, that Vanderbilt was 
soon to come to the head of the company and lend his assistance 

1 War in Nicaragua, 156. 


as Morgan had done. It would have paid him to cast his fortunes 
with the stronger party, and when the plans were made Walker 
probably thought that he was doing so, for Morgan and Garri- 
son then represented the " ins," while Vanderbilt was an " out." 
Even as Walker and Randolph worked on the new charter the 
tables were turned in Wall Street, and they found, when it was 
too late, that they really had cast their fortunes with the " outs." 
Vanderbilt was able to influence the filibusters' fortunes, for good 
or ill, tenfold more effectively than his rivals, and from the day 
that he was tricked things were in a bad way for the Americans 
in Nicaragua. 

When the news of the transaction reached Vanderbilt he was 
greatly enraged. On March 17, and again on March 26, he 
addressed long letters to Secretary Marcy, urging that the gov- 
ernment intervene and protect the property of American citizens 
in Nicaragua. But it was now the government's turn to laugh. 
There was small comfort from the State Department for a cor- 
poration that a few weeks before had sneered at the neutrality 
laws and defied the govenmient's oflScers. Vanderbilt could not 
shift the blame of aiding Walker on the shoulders of Charles 
Morgan, as his correspondence shows that he tried to do, for Marcy 
knew that both men were tarred with the same brush. The gov- 
ernment had been told by White that it had nothing to do with 
this company, which took into consideration only the State of 
Nicaragua. Newspapers now hurled this back into the teeth of 
Vanderbilt and White, and jocularly referred them to Nicaragua 
for relief. 

On Wall Street the news of Walker's action created amaze- 
ment. Financiers at first refused to believe the report, but it 
was sufficient to cause a panic among the company's stockholders, 
who rushed to see who could get out first. The stocks had been 
slowly advancing ever since the new government in Nicaragua 
had appeared firmly established. On January 1, 1856, they 


were quoted at 18 ; on February 14 at 23i ; on March 13, the 
day before the news reached the Street, the closing price was 
22^. On the next day five thousand shares were sold and the 
price fell to 19i ; on the 18th it fell to 13, and during the pre- 
ceding four days fifteen thousand shares had changed hands. 
Men in the Street suspected the real reason for Walker's action, 
but knowing Vanderbilt's power they could hardly believe the 
filibuster leader foolhardy enough to match strength with him. 
The financial editor of the Herald declared that Wall Street re- 
garded Walker as a fool and a knave. "The great mass of the 
American people sympathize deeply with the present government 
of Nicaragua and will regret to find that its gallant head has 
perilled its hitherto bright prospects. It will be seen that it is in 
Mr. Vanderbilt's power to kill off the new government by opening 
another route and thus cutting off Walker's communications with 
San Francisco and New York." ^ 

Vanderbilt immediately announced the withdrawal of the 
company's ocean steamers, and as Morgan was not yet ready with 
his new line the interests of Walker were at once put in jeopardy. 
For six weeks there were no steamers for Nicaraguan ports, and 
the filibusters received no reinforcements or supplies. Garrison 
did try to keep the steamers running from San Francisco to San 
Juan del Sur after Vanderbilt had withdrawn the vessels from 
the Atlantic. His scheme was thwarted, however, for Vander- 
bilt sent an agent from Panama with orders to intercept any of 
the company's steamers headed for the Nicaraguan port and 
order them to Panama, where they were to transfer their pas- 
sengers to the Atlantic by rail. This was done in the case of 
two steamers, and the Transit for the time being was closed.^ 

At length, on April 8, the Orizaba, the first Morgan and Gar- 
rison steamer, was ready to sail from New York for Greytown. 
She was in the command of Captain Tinkelpaugh, who, as com- 

» New York Herald, March 15_aiid 17, 1856. » Wheeler^Scrapbooklno. 4, 161. 


mander of the old company's Northern Light, had already carried 
many a recruit to Walker and at this time was still under a Fed- 
eral indictment for interfering with a deputy marshal on board 
the latter vessel. A report that the government would seize 
the vessel brought a large crowd to the pier. Nothing happened 
till the lines were being cast off, when the assistant district at- 
torney rushed on board with a warrant for the arrest of nine 
filibusters. The steamer had reached the middle of the river be- 
fore the officers were aware that he was on board. The anchor 
was dropped and the vessel was detained an hour while a search 
was made for the culprits. Only three could be identified as the 
men wanted, and these were taken ashore while the Orizaba 
went its way. As usual, the sympathies of the crowd on the 
dock were not with the government. 

It is not surprising to note that one of the passengers on this 
steamer was an agent in the pay of Vanderbilt, by the name of 
Hosea Birdsall. He was going to Grey town with instructions to 
seize all the Transit property at that place, as well as any river 
boats that might arrive, and thus prevent the recruits from going 
into the interior. In case the recruits attempted to take forci- 
ble possession of the boats, Birdsall was instructed to ask any 
British war-vessel in the harbour — one was always there — to 
assist him in protecting American property. He was given to 
understand that it was his mission to secure the cooperation of 
the British navy in preventing the recruits from going into the 
interior so as to accomplish Walker's ultimate downfall. It was 
especially desirable to prevent the reinforcement of the filibusters 
at this time, as they were at war with Costa Rica. 

After anchoring in the harbour at Greytown the Orizaba began 
to transfer her 480 passengers to the river steamboat Wheeler, 
when word came from Captain Tarleton, in command of H. M. 
S. Eurydice, that this must stop, and that the passengers must 
be taken back on the steamer and the river boat hauled off. 


Tinkelpaugh at once went to Tarleton to find out what such orders 
meant. The British officer asserted that he had received word 
from Birdsall that there were five hundred men on board on their 
way to Walker, and that he would not allow them to go up the 
river. Tinkelpaugh protested that 420 of them had tickets for 
San Francisco and none had tickets for the interior, and that he 
had insufficient provisions on board to permit their being re- 
turned to the United States. The British officer then said Tin- 
kelpaugh must take them to Aspinwall, but the latter declared 
that also impossible. Tarleton then announced his determi- 
nation to examine the ship's way-bill before making a definite 
decision. Accordingly, he boarded the Orizaba, went to the 
purser's office, looked over the way-bill, and questioned a num- 
ber of the passengers. Apparently finding Birdsall's statements 
unsubstantiated, he allowed the passengers to disembark. Be- 
yond causing an American vessel to be searched by a British war- 
ship and creating a little delay and much annoyance, the mission 
of the Vanderbilt agent was fruitless.^ 

The old financier, however, was not yet through with his plans 
for revenge. Indeed, this was only the beginning of his fight on 
his rivals. Through another emissary he entered into negotiations 
with Rivas, with the object of producing disagreement between 
the president and the commander-in-chief, ^ and the work of this 
agent may have been partly responsible for the breach that came 
a few months later. Vanderbilt also brought suit in September, 
1856, in the courts of New York State against Garrison in the 
sum of $500,000 for alleged defalcations while in the service of 
the company; among the defalcations alleged being the de- 

1 Commodore Paulding to Secretary Dobbin, MS., Archives Navy Dept., Home 
Squadron, I., 202 ; Senate Ex. Doc. 68, 34 Cong., 1 Sess., 152-4. 

* Joseph L. White testified to this fact under oath in a lawsuit in which the old 
Transit Company was involved in October, 1856. He declined to give any partic- 
ulars, stating that if Walker knew who the go-between was the man would be shot. 
Walker suspected something of this sort, but never detected the traitor in his camp. 
See New York Herald, Oct. 17 and 19, 1856. 


frauding of the corporation of the passage money due from a large 
nmnber of men sent from San Francisco to Nicaragua.^ In De- 
cember he also instituted suit in the United States Circuit Court 
in the name of the Transit Company against Morgan, Garrison, 
and Walker in the sum of $1,000,000, alleging trespass, conversion, 
and disposal of the company's goods, and fraudulent conspiracy 
to interrupt and molest the corporation in the discharge of its 
la\\'ful business.^ Subsequent chapters will reveal other efforts 
of his to destroy the alliance between the filibusters and his rivals 
in Wall Street. 

Walker had appointed a commission, consisting of Cleto May- 
orga, E. J. C. Kewen,' and George F. Alder, to ascertain the 
amount of the company's indebtedness to the State. They made 
their report early in August. As the bookkeeping had not been 
done in Nicaragua, the commissioners were compelled to rely on 
private records and the testimony of the company's employees. 
They came to the conclusion that there was an average of two 
thousand passengers per month over the Transit, each paying 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 133, 136 ; New York Herald, Sept. 5, 1856, 
* New York Herald, Dec. 22, 1856. A number [of other suits grew out of 
Walker's decrees of Feb. 18 and 19. In New York the steamers were placed in the 
hands of Vanderbilt as trustee, and a number of stockholders sued in order to get a 
receiver to wnnd up the business of the company and distribute its assets. Vander- 
bilt resisted, alleging that the decrees had no validity as they were not issued by any 
lawful authority. The New York Supreme Court on November 3 declared the 
decrees valid, as issued by the de facto government, and the annulment an historic 
fact, regardless of any considerations of justice. The Atlantic steamers were placed 
in the hands of a receiver and ordered sold. In California the attorney-general of the 
State brought suit for the possession of the Pacific steamers, alleging that the 
Transit Company, a legal person, died intestate on February 18 and that its 
property in San Francisco therefore escheated to the State. New York Herald, 
July 16, Oct. 14, Nov. 4, Dec. 1, 2, 1856 ; Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 1596, 173. 

» E. J. C. Kewen was a brother of Achilles Kewen, one of the original fifty-six, 
who lost his life at Rivas. He had been the editor of a paper in Columbus, Miss., 
and a practising lawyer in St. Louis, Mo., before 1849, when he migrated to Cali- 
fornia, In 1851 he ran for Congress on the Whig ticket, but was defeated. Walker's 
capture of Granada induced him to migrate to Nicaragua, and he became financial 
agent of the Republic. He decided with the other commissioners that the Transit 
Company was heavily indebted to the government, but advised against the extreme 
measures taken. He later went to Augusta, Ga., which he made his headquarters 
for recruiting for Nicaragua. Shuck, Representative Men, 341-59. 


thirty-five dollars for his passage across the isthmus. The monthly 
receipts from passengers thus amounted to $70,000. The ag- 
gregate specie shipments amounted to $34,719,982, which at the 
rate of one-half of one per cent of their value, brought in a rev- 
enue of $4890 per month. The receipts for carrying freight 
brought the monthly gross earnings to $79,000. The legitimate 
expenses were estimated at $21,000, leaving a net profit of $58,000 
per month, or $696,000 per annum. Of this amount the State 
was entitled to ten per cent, or $69,600 per annum, from August, 
1851, to March, 1856. To this amount the commissioners added 
interest at six per cent per annum, and, as the company had no 
representative on hand ^ to prove that the annual payments of 
$10,000 had been made, these were also added, bringing the total 
s,um due the State to $412,589.16.^ These figures are of course 
absurd. Vanderbilt in his complaint to Marcy stated that the 
value of the confiscated property was between $700,000 and 
$1,000,000 ; and it is inconceivable that such an investment should 
have yielded a net profit of $696,000, or from seventy to ninety- 
nine per cent a year. Yet such was the finding of the commis- 
sion. It is also improbable that the Nicaraguan commissioners 
appointed a year previously should have offered to settle the 
claim for thirty-five thousand dollars when over ten times that 
amount was due the State. In making the report Walker's com- 
mission frequently found it necessary to use its imagination, and 
in this respect it seems to have excelled. As soon as the report had 
been submitted, all the property of the old company in Nicaragua 
was sold to Morgan and Garrison. They had received bonds for 
their previous advances to the government, and they now ex- 
changed these for the property of the Accessory Transit Company.^ 

* The commissioners had gone through the farce of summoning agents of the 
company to appear. 

2 Wheeler to Marcy, Aug. 2, 1856, MS., Department of State, Bureau of 
Indexes and Archives, Despatches, Nicaragua, II. 

' The Transit privileges, which had been bestowed by decree upon] Randolph 
and his associates in_February were offered for sale to Vanderbilt in June by Morgan 


This is the way that Walker paid his debt to his financial patrons. 
The new steamship line was now in operation, and recruits were 
pouring in. To all appearances the filibuster regime was firmly 
established, but as a matter of fact it had dug for itself a pit as 
deep as Avernus. 

and Randolph, but the financier declared that his duty was to protect the stock- 
holders of the old company and refused to consider the offer. Morgan and Garrison 
appear to have purchased Randolph's interest shortly thereafter, and then in August , 
as above stated, they secured the physical property as well as the franchise. Major 
J. P. Heiss's Scrapbook, in possession of Mr. Robert Lusk, of Nashville, Tenn. ; 
New York Herald, Sept. 7, 1856. 

Filibuster Diplomacy and Politics 

After securing peace in Nicaragua and strengthening his 
position by constant accessions of recruits, Walker next gave his 
attention to the problem of securing formal recognition of the 
Rivas administration by other governments. Shortly after the 
treaty of October 23 communications were sent to the other 
Central American States, giving the terms of the treaty and 
expressing the desire of the republic of Nicaragua for harmony 
and fraternity with its neighbours. Official notice was taken 
of this only by San Salvador. On November 22, 1855, Seiior 
Enrique Hojos, the minister of foreign affairs for that republic, 
notified the Nicaraguan government that it was very gratifying 
to find that its people were at last to have a prospect of enjoying 
tranquillity and of consolidating the happiness and prosperity 
of their State.^ 

In San Salvador the Democratic party was then in the ascend- 
ant, and it naturally favoured the success of the corresponding 
element in Nicaragua. The Salvadorian journal. El Rol, published 
by Democratic leaders, had applauded the downfall of Granada 
and expressed great admiration for Walker, whom it hailed as 
the successor of Morazan.^ Honduras also had been liberal or 
democratic in its sympathies. Its president. General Trinidad 

1 Monttifar, 186. 

2 The New York Herald of March 30, 1856, contains a translation of a long article 
in the issue of El Rol for January 2, defending Walker and his followers from certain 
aspersions of the Conservatives. It ends with the declaration, " This much decried 
invasion of Nicaragua by the North Americans is but an invective and a calumny 
of the aristocratic party." 



Cabanas, had been a devoted friend and disciple of Morazdn, and 
was an ardent advocate of a Central American union. But the 
views of Cabanas were very distasteful to Carrera, the president 
of Guatemala, who was a stanch advocate of particularism, or 
what Americans would call States' rights, and he made war on 
Honduras, defeating Cabanas and compelling him to flee for safety 
to San Salvador. Cabanas now looked to Nicaragua for aid in 
regaining his lost power, and a few weeks after the capture of 
Granada Walker invited him to come to that city and make his 
plea in person. The commander-in-chief, on hearing of his ap- 
proach, sent Hornsby to meet him, and on December 3 received 
him with every mark of consideration. During the late civil 
war Cabanas had aided the Democrats in many ways, even to 
the extent of sending them a detachment of his own troops. He 
had sheltered Castellon and Jerez when they fled from Chamorro, 
and had furnished them the means to return and start the revo- 
lution which had resulted in the coming of Walker to Nicaragua. 
He felt, therefore, that he could ask this aid as a matter of right 
and not merely as a favour. Jerez, now minister of relations, 
was strongly in favour of taking up Cabanas' cause, as he owed 
the ex-president a deep debt of gratitude. Walker, of course, 
had not come to Nicaragua to exhaust his strength in fighting out 
the quarrels of native chiefs, and was therefore opposed to the 
suggestion. ^He gave as his reason the fact that an invasion of 
Honduras would be seized upon by his enemies as proof that he 
meditated a war of conquest. This excuse seemed to satisfy 
Rivas, who postponed giving any definite answer till Cabanas 
had gone to Leon, and then sent him word that aid would be de- 
nied. Upon hearing this Jerez, the foremost Democrat in the 
country, resigned his place in the cabinet. Selva followed soon 
after when Walker gave office to a Legitimist. The filibuster 
thus began to alienate the Democrats as he had previously alien- 
ated the Legitimists. Nearly every important act gained him 


new enemies. Cabanas, bitterly disappointed, returned to San 
Salvador, which was the only State inclined to act favourably 
toward Walker, and began an active agitation against the Ameri- 
can invaders. He aroused the Liberals with a hostile manifesto 
against Walker, and the government sent a commissioner. Colonel 
Justo Padilla, with letters asking why the American forces were 
being increased and urging that further immigration be stopped. 
The commissioner arrived simultaneously with the two hundred 
and fifty men sent by Vanderbilt from New Orleans, and these 
were drawn up so as to show their numbers to the best advantage 
when Padilla visited Walker in his quarters.^ There was only 
one minister left in the Rivas cabinet ; he was Fermin Ferrer, a 
faithful adherent of Walker, and was now designated as min- 
ister-general. Ferrer explained to Padilla that the increase of 
enlistments was due to the hostility shown toward the Rivas 
government by the neighbouring republics, and especially by 
Costa Rica. The envoy stood for a time on the plaza and gazed 
at the recruits as they marched to their quarters. Then shaking 
his head, he exclaimed "Muchos soldados," and walked thought- 
fully away.2 

The republic of Costa Rica was the stronghold of the conserva- 
tive party of Central America, and many of the most prominent 
Legitimists had taken refuge there after the capture of Granada. 
The Boletin Oficial, the organ of the administration, bitterly at- 
tacked the new regime in Nicaragua, and the president, Juan 
Rafael Mora, not only ignored the circular address sent by Rivas 
to the various republics, but on November 20, less than a month 
after the conclusion of peace in Nicaragua, he issued a high-flown 
proclamation, declaring that the peace of his country was in 
danger. "A band of adventurers," said he, "the scum of all the 

1 Monttifar, 187-207 ; Walker, War in Nicaragua, 159-65 ; 179-80 ; New York 
Herald, Apr. 4, 13. 1856. 

2 New York Herald, April 13, 1856. 


earth, repudiated by the justice of the American Union, not suc- 
ceeding in satisfying their voracity where they now are, are plan- 
ning to invade Costa Rica and seek in our wives and daughters, 
our houses and lands, satisfaction for their fierce passions, food 
for their unbridled appetites. Is it necessary to picture the 
terrible evils which may come from our coolly awaiting so bar- 
barous an invasion ? No, you understand them ; you well know 
what may be expected from adventurers fleeing from their own 
country ; you know your duty. Be on your guard, then, Costa 
Ricans ! Do not cease your noble labours, but make ready your 
arms!" ^ 

Walker quickly saw the need of doing something to conciliate 
this republic. Accordingly, on January 17, 1856, he sent a per- 
sonal letter to President Mora, in which he disavowed any hos- 
tile intentions toward Central America, declaring that he had 
come to Nicaragua for the purpose of maintaining order and good 
government, and expressing "a fervent desire for peace and good 
understanding between the sister republics of Costa Rica and 
Nicaragua." ^ In February Rivas went a step farther and apn 
pointed a special commissioner to Costa Rica in the person of 
Louis Schlessinger, a German Jew, who had come to Nicaragua 
with high recommendations and was one of the few men in Walk- 
er's service who had a thorough knowledge of Spanish. Schles- 
singer was one of the passengers on the Northern Light on December 
24 for whom the government had issued a warrant. While the 
officers were searching for him he had managed to swap clothes 
with a sailor and to remove his beard. Appearing on deck in an 
oilskin jacket and sou'wester, he was safe from detection.^ W^ith 
Schlessinger were sent an American officer. Captain W. A. Sutter, 
and a prominent Legitimist, Manuel Arguello. It was thought 

* Joaquin B, Calvo, La Campafia Nacional Contra los Filibusteros en 1866 y 
1867, 8. (San Jos6, 1909.) 

« Montfifar, 204-06. » New York Herald, Jan. 14, 1856. 


that the latter's presence would do something toward reconciling 
the Legitimist refugees in Costa Rica to the changes at home. 
Schlessinger was instructed to seek to counteract the false impres- 
sions concerning the Rivas-Walker government and to protest 
against the machinations of the Legitimist emigres. The com- 
missioner encountered only hostility. He and Sutter were ordered 
to leave the country immediately, while Arguello remained and 
later joined the Costa Rican army.^ The filibuster regime, as 
was now seen, had no friends in the neighbouring States. 

In Nicaragua alone was Walker able to secure anything more 
than momentary sympathy from the natives. From the begin- 
ning the clergy there were inclined to take his side. Being men of 
peace by nature and profession, they had no heart for civil com- 
motion, and had been compelled to sit as silent spectators while 
the belligerents used their churches as fortresses and battered and 
barricaded these holy places. Shortly after Walker entered 
Granada he was hailed by the curate of the parish. Padre Augustin 
Vijil, as "Angel tutelar, estrella del norte" (Guardian angel, star 
of the North). Shortly thereafter the vicar capitular of the 
bishopric, Jose Hilario Herdocia, sent him his congratulations 
upon restoring peace in Nicaragua, and Walker wrote him in 
reply : " It is very satisfactory to me to know that the existing 
government is approved by the authority of the Church. Without 
the aid of religious ideas and teachers there can be no good gov- 
ernment. In God I put my trust for the success of the cause in 
which I am engaged and for the establishment of the principles 
which I invoke. Without His aid all human efforts are vain, but 
with His divine help a few can triumph over a legion." ^ The 
influence of the clergy had its effect mainly upon the conservative 
element and caused numbers of them to become reconciled to the 
new order of affairs. The clergy were also instrumental in recon- 
ciling the Indians to Walker's coming. Their dislike of the 

' War in Nicaragua, 165. 2 Monttifar, 167-8 ; Perez, Memorias, 168. 


strangers was due to race prejudice, and in the district of 
Matagalpa they rose against the new government. Against 
them Walker sent no soldiers, but despatched to them a priest. 
The labours of the churchman pacified them. Perez, who is a 
bitter partizan, says that the Legitimist party would have upheld 
Walker if he had guaranteed their lives and property. But 
that writer forgets that the leader of this party was conspiring to 
overthrow Walker at the very moment he was swearing on the 
Holy Evangelists to uphold him. The native \\Titers do not seem 
to think that the obligations of the Americans and the Nicaraguans 
were reciprocal. The Democrats at first looked upon Walker as 
the means of their salvation, but they could never feel satisfied 
that his aims and theirs were identical, and gradually began to 
distrust him. Both sides, however, for a time preferred to see a 
foreigner in power rather than a native enemy. According to 
Perez himself, during the civil war many families had gone as 
refugees into the districts of Chontales, Matagalpa, and Segovia, 
which were somewhat removed from the theatre of hostilities, 
and whenever they saw a squad of soldiers coming into the neigh- 
bourhood they hoped that they were Americans, because these 
were less disliked than hostile fellow-countrymen.^ 

Strange to relate, Walker's relations with the clergy and church 
have been more distorted than any other phase of his history. 
Sir William Gore Ouseley, the British envoy to Central America 
in 1859, wrote to Lord Malmesbury that Walker desecrated the 
churches, dressed his men in the priests' vestments, and paro- 
died the elevation of the host.^ Such stories were not believed 
by any but foreigners, and the attitude of the native priesthood 
is a sufficient refutation.^ 

» See also Monttifar, 172. « British State Papers, L., 216. 

» The first of Walker's fifty- three "Articles of war by which the army of the 
Republic of Nicaragua shall be governed" read as follows : 

"Article 1. It is earnestly recommended to all officers and soldiers to attend 
divine worship, and any oflBcer or soldier who shall in any way behave with impro- 


This friendliness of the clergy Parker H. French, while minister 
of hacienda (public credit), sought to turn to financial account, 
and he asked the vicar Herdocia to lend him the funds of the parish 
of Granada to aid in carrying on the work of pacifying the coun- 
try. The churchman consented, and French secured 963 ounces 
of fine silver bullion.^ 

It was partly on account of this rapacity manifested by French 
that Walker decided to send him out of the country. Before the 
treaty of October 23 the Legitimist government was represented 
at Washington by Senor Marcoleta. With the signing of the 
treaty Marcoleta's government apparently ceased to exist by 
common consent of all parties. The Legitimist president, Es- 
trada, escaped from Granada at the time of its capture, however, 
and later issued a manifesto claiming that Corral in negotiating 
the treaty had exceeded his powers, and that the agreement was 
therefore null and void. He denounced the provisional govern- 
ment as unlawful, and those serving it in any capacity as traitors. 
He also set up in the district of Segovia what he claimed to 
be the only lawful government in Nicaragua. Marcoleta there- 
fore remained at his post in Washington, claiming to represent 
the government of Estrada. ^ This gave the Pierce administra- 
tion a hard nut to crack. The State Department could not 
recognize the legitimacy of the Estrada government, which was 
obviously a paper affair. On the other hand, to sever relations 
with Marcoleta would be everywhere interpreted as an encourage- 
ment to the American invasion of Nicaragua ; and this was what 
the administration was most desirous to avoid, especially as such 
a proceeding would be equivalent to waving a red rag in the face 

priety in any place of divine worship shall be punished according to his offence by 
sentence of a court martial." 

1 Perez, Memorias, pt. 2, p. 6. Perez says that the silver came from the frontal 
of the great Altar of Mercy and from the hall of the Virgin of Mercy in the vicar's 
own church. 

2 MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Notes, Central 
American Legations, II. ; Senate Ex. Doc. 68, 34 Cong., 1 Sess., 145-7. 


of England. Marcoleta therefore held on, and everyone won- 
dered to whom he sent his despatches and from whom he received 
his instructions. The Rivas government had already revoked 
Marcoleta's commission, but the State Department could not 
take official cognizance of this without recognizing the validity of 
that government. 

Such was the situation when Walker determined to get rid of 
French by sending him to the United States as the representative 
of Nicaragua. From what has already been said concerning 
that individual it will appear that a more unhappy choice for 
such a position could hardly have been made. The reasons 
which Walker gives for his selection of French were written after 
French had proved his unfitness. It is more than probable that 
Walker was ignorant of the worst traits in the man's character, 
as well as of his previous history, at the time the appointment 
was made. It is hardly conceivable, otherwise, that he would 
have sent a man to represent his government who would then 
have been wearing felon's stripes if he had received his just dues. 
Still there is no reason to doubt that Walker was largely actuated 
in the appointment by the desire to get rid of French, and he 
probably thought that the qualities which the man exhibited in 
Nicaragua would have to be suppressed in a different environment. 
Walker blundered not only in sending a man of French's char- 
acter and past record, but also in sending a former citizen of the 
United States. Common sense should have dictated the selection 
of an intelligent native. 

French arrived in Washington in December, 1855, and on the 
19th addressed Marcy, requesting an interview preliminary to 
presenting his credentials as minister from Nicaragua. Two 
days later Marcy replied that "those who were instrumental in 
overthrowing the government of Nicaragua were not citizens 
belonging to it," nor had those citizens, so far as known, "freely 
expressed their approval of or acquiescence in the condition of 


political affairs in Nicaragua." When it appeared that the new 
government had the support of its citizens the United States would 
undertake to establish diplomatic relations with it.^ 

Marcoleta still hung on. On New Year's day he appeared at 
the President's reception at the White House along with the other 
members of the diplomatic corps, and it was observed that many- 
foreign representatives made it a point to pay him attention. 
This was a delicate way to administer a slap at "manifest des- 
tiny." ^ It is not surprising, too, that a minister without a rec- 
ognized government, but received on an equal footing with well 
accredited diplomats, should have aroused a great deal of interest. 
It was commonly reported that for his past services Marcoleta had 
never received a cent of salary. "The generosity of this gentle- 
man in serving a government which could not pay is only equalled 
by his piety in continuing to serve it after it is dead," said the New 
York Herald; "he continues with a constancy and disinterested- 
ness unparalleled in the annals of diplomacy to represent its 
spirit long after the body is dead and buried." ^ Marcoleta was 
finally disposed of by being informed orally and unofficially that 
the government which he claimed to represent was no longer in 
existence and that the only party claiming political control in 
Nicaragua had repudiated any connection with him. 

Receiving likewise no encouragement at Washington, French 
proceeded to New York a sadder but not, as it proved, a wiser 
man ; for a few days later he became involved in the controversy 
with McKeon over recruiting, as described in the preceding chap- 
ter. The attitude of the administration in rejecting French was 
to many a matter of surprise. The American press, with a few 
exceptions, had been sympathetic with the Nicaraguan venture, 
and was much disposed to criticise Marcy's action. Some even 
imputed personal animosity on the part of Pierce toward Walker 

1 House Ex. Doc. 103, 34 Cong., 1 Sess., 57, 75. 

« New York Sun, Jan. 3, 1856. ' New York Herald, Jan. 12, 1856. 


because the latter the year before had championed the cause of 
Broderick, the anti-administration candidate for the Senate in 
CaHfornia.^ Others intimated that Walker's treatment of Kin- 
ney was responsible, pointing out that Sidney Webster, Pierce's 
private secretary, and Caleb Gushing, the Attorney-General, had 
once been interested in the Central American Company, and would 
naturally use their influence against Walker, because he denied 
the validity of this company's land claims.^ French and Fa- 
bens — the latter just having arrived in New York as a coloni- 
zation agent — were responsible for these insinuations ; the former 
had received so much notice from the public during the McKeon 
controversy that his head was completely turned. Friends of 
the administration now retaliated by laying bare some of the 
shady monetary transactions of French in the past. Especial 
stress was laid on a report of the Senate Committee on Military 
Affairs, which had been made only a year previously, and which 
showed up the would-be diplomat in very ugly colours.^ The 
report stated that in 1850, when French was leading a caravan 
of emigrants over his widely advertised new route to California, 
he reached the army post at San Antonio and there applied for 
supplies. The War Department at that time authorized army 
posts to sell supplies to western emigrants if the state of their 
commissary permitted, and French was allowed to purchase 
about two thousand dollars' worth of government stores. The 
purchase was made on the strength of a letter of credit from the 
banking house of Rowland and Aspinwall of New York City. 
This later proved to be a forgery. Several merchants of San 
Antonio were duped at the same time. The resurrection of this 

* It is interesting to note that Pierce's refusal to receive French was attrib- 
uted by members of the Know-Nothing party to the catering of the Democratic 
party to the foreign Catholic vote. See William G. Brownlow, Americanism Con- 
trasted with Foreignism, Romanism, and Bogus Democracy, 99-100 (Nashville, 1856). 
My attention was directed to this by Professor St. George L. Sioussat. 

» Wheeler Scrapbook no. 5, pp. 17, 53 ; New York Herald, Jan. 23, 1856. 

» See Senate Report 455, 33 Cong., 2 Sess. 


report produced a great revulsion of feeling, and was as heavy a 
blow to the cause of Walker as it was a revenge for the much 
criticised adminstration.^ 

Never did popular hero take so quick a tumble. When the press 
learned that the man whom they had urged the government to 
honour was no better than a thief their former sympathy was 
turned to disgust. French was now called " a panfish become very 
like a whale," "von big tarn humbug," and other things equally 
as complimentary.^ "In bitterness of spirit," said the New 
York Mercury, "let us exclaim, with Sir Harcourt Courtly, 'will 
nobody take this man away ? ' " ^ While expressing no admi- 
ration for W^alker's minister, a number of journals still maintained 
that his official capacity should be recognized. "It is not Cap- 
tain French, of questionable antecedents, who solicits the ear of 
our government," said one, "but the agent of a sovereign power." ^ 
" Worse men than Colonel French have been received as ministers, 
and eminently bad men, morally, hold high places in the govern- 
ments with which we maintain friendly relations," said another. 
"International morals are not so pure that there need be any 
squeamish ness in admitting Colonel French to the diplomatic 
circle." ^ 

French persisted in his efforts to obtain recognition, and on 
February 5 met a second refusal.^ Walker, on hearing of French's 
rejection, caused Rivas to revoke the powers of his minister and 
to suspend diplomatic relations with Wheeler at Granada until 
the American government should see fit to change its attitude. '^ 
In the issue of El Nicaraguense for January 12 he discussed the 
matter of Marcy's attitude in a very remarkable editorial, which 

1 For fuller accounts of French's rascality, consult William Miles, Journal of the 
Sufferings and Hardships of Captain Parker H. French's Overland Expedition. (Cham- 
bersburg, 1851) ; and Bell, Reminiscences of a Ranger, 261-5. 

2 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 5, p. 46. ^ New York Mercury, Jan. 27, 1856. 
* New York Times, Jan. 26, 1856. ^ New York Sun, Jan. 15, 1856. 

« House Ex. Doc. 103, 34 Cong., 1 Sess., 76. 
^ Senate Ex. Doc. 68, 34 Cong., 1 Sess. 


the New York Times pronounced "well-written, high-toned, and 
with reasoning sustained to a high degree of ability." In this 
article Walker reminds Marcy that American independence was 
won with the aid of Lafayette, DeKalb, and Steuben, who, accord- 
ing to the views of the Secretary of State, must have been filibus- 
ters. Then, turning to the matter of French's having been a 
former citizen of the United States, he cites the fact that George 
III. had received John Adams, a former British subject, as min- 
ister from the United States as soon as peace was made. The 
reading of this editorial reminds us of Justice Field's character- 
ization of Walker as a Marysville lawyer; his arguments are 
ingenious, but not convincing. 

The most important result of French's rejection was seen in 
its etfect upon the other Central American governments. It was 
hard for them to believe, after lately witnessing the outcome of 
the Mexican War and seeing now the apparent helplessness of 
American oflScials in preventing recruiting, that the invasion of 
Nicaragua was not sanctioned unofficially by the administration. 
Marcy's letter declaring that the present government of Nicaragua 
was not the creature of its citizens and not yet existing with their 
full consent was therefore loudly heralded in every quarter of 
Central America and strengthened the hands of those who were 
meditating Walker's destruction.^ 

After his decline in public esteem in New York French left the 
city for New Orleans, and there sailed for Greytown in company 
with a large body of recruits. On reporting to Walker he met 
with a cold reception, and was told that his further connection 
with the Nicaraguan government was not desired. French then 
departed the country, and on reaching New Orleans pretended 
to be entrusted with business negotiations for Walker's govern- 
ment.^ On the 28th of April he and Pierre Soule addressed a 
public meeting in New Orleans called to enlist sympathy in be- 

1 MontAfar, 163-4. *Ihid. 163 ; New York Herald, April 4 and 25, 1856. 


half of the Americans in Nicaragua.^ He next proceeded to New 
York, where he tried to interest Vanderbilt in some new steam- 
ship venture, and also planned to publish a booklet on the natural 
resources of his adopted country. He delivered several lectures 
on Nicaragua in various cities and still avowed his loyalty to 
Walker, though he made no denial of the rupture which had been 
reported between himself and his chief. When reports of his 
conduct reached Nicaragua, El Nicaraguense paid its official 
respects to the ex-filibuster, declaring that " he has no connection 
whatever with this government ; and, as evidence of this, we are 
warranted in saying that he is at present engaged in doing the 
administration all the injury his genius is capable of. . . . For- 
tunately, he can do no material damage." ^ This announcement 
was widely copied in American papers, and French's candle for 
the time being was snuffed out. 

During the spring of 1856, as the time for the national con- 
ventions of the political parties approached and the discussion of 
party issues and presidential candidates waxed warm, it became 
evident that the attitude of the administration toward the Nic- 
araguan movement w^ould become a factor in determining the 
action of the Democratic convention. Meetings began to be held 
in all the principal cities, at which prominent politicians expressed 
their sympathies with the cause of Walker. It began to be pre- 
dicted that the hostility shown by the Pierce administration would 
help defeat him for renomination, as the Democratic platform 
would probably sanction what the Americans were doing in Central 
America. Pierce and his advisers were accused also of catering 
too much to England, and the refusal to recognize Walker was 
cited as one instance of this. 

Walker was now aware of the political pressure being brought 
to bear upon Pierce, and the time seemed favourable for a second 

1 Montgomery Advertiser and Gazette, May 3, 1856. 

' El Nicaraguense of April 26, quoted in New York Herald, June 2, 1856. 



effort to obtain recognition. Profiting by his former mistake, he 
now chose a representative to whom no personal objections could 
be offered. Father Augustin Vijil, the curate of Granada, who 
had shown his friendship for the Americans on more than one 
occasion, was selected to represent the Rivas government near 
the United States. A contemporary Latin- American, not all 
friendly, describes the priest as endowed with splendid memory 
and intellect, graceful delivery, unctuous, penetrating voice, and 
massive physique. Deeply versed in Holy Writ, and renowned as 
an orator, he was often referred to as the " Bossuet of Nicaragua." ^ 
He had not always worn the cloth, but had once been a practising 
lawyer in Granada. Like so many of his fellow-countrymen, he 
had become involved in political difficulties and had incurred 
banishment from his native soil. After taking holy orders, how- 
ever, he was able to return to the familiar scenes of his early days 
under the protection of the Church. It is said that he aspired 
to the episcopal chair at Granada, but had been balked in his 
ambition by Chamorro, who used his influence in behalf of a 
Guatemalan churchman named Pinol. This was given to explain 
the padre's devotion to the Democratic cause.^ 

On May 14 Vijil presented his credentials at Washington and 
was formally received as minister from Nicaragua. On the 
following day Pierce submitted a message to Congress, giving his 
reasons for receiving a representative of William Walker. The 
interests of the' United States, he said, demanded that some gov- 
ernment be recognized, and as the Rivas-Walker government was 
the only one in existence there was no choice but to recognize it.' 
The President's line of argument did not carry conviction to the 

1 Monttifar, 427-8. 

» Perez, Memorias, pt. 2, 69. Padre Vijil is said not to have abandoned his legal 
practice after taking orders, but to have shown equal diligence "for fees and fervour, 
briefs and beads, courts and confessional, cross-examination and the cross." 
Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 178. 

» Messages and Papers of the Presidents, V., 368-74. 


opponents of the Nicaraguan movement. They claimed that 
the administration could really have found a better excuse for 
rejecting Vijil than it had for turning away French. In the case 
of the latter it was chiefly a question as to whether Walker's was 
a government de jure, whereas, when Vijil was received, all the 
neighbouring states were showing hostility, Costa Rica was 
actually making war on the filibusters, and the native Nicaraguan s 
were growing daily more disaffected. It was now a question, they 
said, whether Vijil even represented a de facto government.^ 
They naturally held that the administration was actuated by 
political motives, believing that the recognition of the Nicaraguan 
government would be a strong factor in securing the renomination 
of Pierce at the Cincinnati Convention. There is no doubt that 
the reception of Vijil at this time had its political aspects, though 
these had not the importance which enemies of Pierce and of the 
Rivas- Walker government ascribed to them. 

On May 23 a public meeting was held in New York City to 
celebrate the recognition of the Nicaraguan government. Its 
chief significance lay not so much in the size and enthusiasm of 
the audience as in the fact that men high in the councils of the 
Democratic party made this an occasion to align themselves in 
favour of the Walker enterprise. Many who could not attend 
sent letters expressing their sympathy with the cause. Especially 
significant was a letter from Lewis Cass, of Michigan, then re- 
garded as one of the leading candidates for the party's nomination. 
"I am free to confess," he stated, "that the heroic effort of our 
countrymen in Nicaragua excites my admiration, while it engages 
all my solicitude. I am not to be deterred from the expression 
of these feelings by sneers, or reproaches, or hard words. He who 
does not sympathize with such an enterprise has little in common 
with me. The difficulties which General Walker has encountered 
and overcome will place his name high on the roll of the distin- 

1 Cong. Globe, 34 Cong., 1 Sess., 1227-8. 


guished men of his age. . . . Our countrymen will plant there 
the seeds of our institutions, and God grant that they may grow 
up into an abundant harvest of industry, enterprise, and pros- 
perity. A new day, I hop>e, is opening upon the States of Central 
America." Cass ended his letter by paying his respects to that 
bete noir of his, Great Britain. Another who sent a letter of 
sympathy was Thomas Francis Meagher, the Irish patriot. Among 
those who addressed the meeting were Rodman Price, then gov- 
ernor of New Jersey, E. A. Pollard, the journalist and traveller, 
and Isaiah Rynders, the Tammany leader. Banners were dis- 
played bearing the inscriptions, " Enlargement of the Bounds of 
Liberty" and "No British interference on the American Con- 
tinent." 1 

On June 2 the Democratic convention assembled in Cincinnati. 
Pierce was the choice of the Southern delegates, and had no doubt 
strengthened himself with them by his change of attitude toward 
Walker. The Northern wing of the party, however, favoured 
James Buchanan, and on the seventeenth ballot he was nominated. 
This was not a defeat for the friends of Walker, for the platform 
upon which Buchanan was nominated declared that, "in view of 
so commanding an interest, the people of the United States cannot 
but sympathize with the efforts which are being made by the 
people of Central America to regenerate that portion of the 
continent which covers the passage across the interoceanic isth- 
mus." This, of course, was only a slightly veiled way of ex- 
pressing sympathy with Walker. 

In the meantime Padre VijiFs diplomatic experience was not 
one of unalloyed happiness. Most of the diplomatic corps re- 
fused to recognize him in his official capacity. Molina, charge 
d'affaires for Costa Rica, and Irisarri, representing Guatemala and 
San Salvador, protested vigorously to Marcy against his recep- 
tion. The latter was unusually bold, affirming that as the recog- 

1 New York Times, May 24, 1856. 


nition occurred when Walker was on the point of being overthrown 
it could be regarded only as a means of securing the triumph of 
the American invaders, who were threatening to lord it over all 
other Central American republics, and "over Mexico, Cuba, and 
the isthmus of Panama, leaving the task of extending their do- 
minions as far as Tierra del Fuego to a later date." ^ Even Mar- 
coleta, who represented no government at all, filed a protest.^ 
Peru and New Granada later followed suit. The latter republic 
feared that inasmuch as it too afforded a transit across the isthmus 
it might soon suffer the fate of Nicaragua.^ In the Chilean 
Chamber of Deputies a member moved that the government 
intervene against the Americans in Nicaragua. The ill-feeling 
of the Latin-American representatives culminated in a meeting 
in Washington at which they drew up a formal treaty of alliance 
and sent it to their governments sub spe rati} English and Span- 
ish influences were undoubtedly behind these activities. Spain 
was fearful that Walker's success in Nicaragua would lead to her 
losing Cuba, and her fears were well founded. 

Vijil was also snubbed and insulted by his fellow-clergymen in 
America. In passing through Baltimore he paid a visit to the 
archbishop. The latter is said to have remarked, "And you are 
Father Vijil? Is it possible that a Cathohc priest should come 
to this country to labour against his church and his native land ? " 
The poor padre was so abashed at his cold reception that in his 
hurry to leave he forgot his hat.^ Vijil remained at his post only 
until June 23.® Leaving John P. Heiss ^ to act as charge d'affaires, 

1 Irisarri to Marcy, May 19, 1856, MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes 
and Archives, Notes, Central American Legations, I. 

« Text in Monttifar, 453-7. s British State Papers, XLVII., 790-92. 

* Text in Ibid., 465-8. 

' Gdmez, Historia de Nicaragua, 648 (Managua, 1889) ; Perez, Memorias, 70. 

« MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Central American 
Legations, Notes, II. 

^ John P. Heiss had formerly been one of the proprietors of the New Orleans Delia. 
He had been sent to Nicaragua by Marcy as a special agent of the government to 
report upon the state of affairs in that country. After his return to the United 


he returned to Nicaragua and made a report of his mission to 
Walker, who was then president. It is rather significant that he 
soon thereafter asked for his passports and left for New Granada, 
where he assumed charge of a church.^ 

States he warmly espoused the filibuster cause and served as a kind of " go-between " 
for Walker and American poLiticiana. 
» Mont<ifar, 661-2. 


Costa Rica Wars on Walker 

The Democratic partizans in Nicaragua had no more bitter 
enemy, perhaps, than Senor Luis Molina, the Costa Rican chargS 
d'affaires at Washington. He had been driven from Nicaragua by 
these selfsame partizans, and the memory of his ill-treatment still 
rankled. His brother Felipe had served his government long and 
well as minister to the United States and had become dean of 
the diplomatic corps at Washington. Having been educated in 
Philadephia, he well understood the intricacies of American 
politics and kept his government well informed of the designs 
of the devotees of manifest destiny. At his death Felipe Molina 
was succeeded by his brother and understudy, the anti-Demo- 
cratic Luis. The despatches of the latter to his home government 
must have been exceedingly pessimistic if their tone were in 
harmony with his notes to Marcy. Some of his protests have 
already been referred to or quoted. On December 6, 1855, in a 
communication to Marcy, he referred to Walker's enterprise as 
"a great crime, complex and multiform, which was hatched and 
set on foot within the territory of the United States and continued 
without interruption in a foreign land by North American citizens, 
with means and assistance and to a certain extent with the moral 
force of the nation, against the existence of peaceable and friendly 
states." If the adventurers "are disowned by the government 
to-day, they hope, not without cause, to be received with open 
arms to-morrow, arrayed in holiday attire for annexation, and to 
be exalted, their booty being legitimatized." A fortnight later, 



in a second communication, he called Walker's adventurers "the 
dregs of European refuse Americanized." ^ Similar communica- 
tions were going to his home government, where their substance 
was reproduced, with variations, in the Boletin Oficial. 

The president of Costa Rica, Juan Rafael Mora, also showed 
active hostility to the filibusters from the very beginning. He 
had governed the country since 1850, and it had enjoyed profound 
peace. He was a plain, unassuming merchant of pleasant address 
and great popularity, and when elevated to the presidency was 
scarcely thirty-six years of age. He had just been reelected when 
he heard that Walker had captured Granada. There had been 
jealousy and ill-feeling between the two republics, and Mora 
might have pursued a hands-off policy. But there were three 
good reasons why Costa Rica should look with alarm upon the 
filibustering movement in Nicaragua. In the first place, the 
Conservative element strongly predominated and was naturally 
opposed to the coming of an armed force to aid the Liberal faction 
in a neighbouring republic. After the treaty of October 23 large 
numbers of irreconcilable Legitimists fled to Costa Rica and found 
a ready asylum. Their stories of the misdeeds of the Americans 
increased the resentment of the people against the invaders. In 
the second place, Costa Rica had enjoyed a larger measure of 
political tranquillity than its neighbours, and as a result had de- 
veloped a stronger sentiment of nationalism. It therefore re- 
sented a movement that might lead to the Americanization of any 
part of the isthmus, believing that this would be a preliminary 
step to the loss of its own nationality. Finally, Costa Rica had 
conceived an ambitious design to get the Transit route for itself 
by taking advantage of the turbulence in Nicaragua and seizing 
more territory along the San Juan River. It was therefore a griev- 
ous disappointment when this region practically fell into the hands 

J MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Central American 


of the Americans. The continuous anti-American propaganda 
carried on in Costa Rica encouraged many a disaffected Nicarag- 
uan to follow the early Legitimist refugees and emigrate thither. 

Walker made special efforts to conciliate this republic, as already 
shown. His selection of Schlessinger, who was still a stranger to 
him, for such an important mission did not speak well for his 
discretion ; but the result would have been the same, it mattered 
not whom he chose, as the commissioners were turned back as 
soon as they reached Punta Arenas, the Pacific port of Costa 
Rica. Mora called an extraordinary session of his Congress, which 
authorized him on February 27 to take up arms jor the republic 
of Nicaragua, defend its people from the filibusters, and expel the 
invaders from Central American soil. He was empowered to act 
alone or in conjunction with the other republics. The president 
at once issued a call for nine thousand men and took steps to levy 
a forced contribution of 100,000 pesos.^ He also declared war on 
the filibusters, taking care to stipulate that Costa Rica was not 
fighting Nicaragua. Thirty-three Germans resident in the coun- 
try signed an address expressing their sympathy and offering their 
services. In general, the war seems to have had the approval of 
the foreign residents. 

Mora notified the American consul at San Jose that as the 
Transit Company's steamers were used for the transportation of 
" bandits," he had ordered a suspension of the traffic on the river 
and lake, and any persons attempting to cross the isthmus would 
do so at their peril. He also announced that he intended to shoot 
any of Walker's men that fell into his hands. As it happened, no 
steamers brought passengers while Mora was in the country, and 

* This was not called a forced contribution, but as the amounts to be advanced 
were apportioned among the various provinces and were to be collected by the 
provincial governor with the aid of five citizens appointed by him, and as citizens 
with property of less amount than a house and a thousand pesos were declared 
exempt, it seems that the contributions were by no means voluntary. See Montli- 
far, 219-222. 


he had no opportunity to carry out that part of his threat. As 
soon as Marcy was notified of this paper blockade of the river 
and lake he instructed the American consul to notify the Costa 
Rican government that the United States would not recognize 
it, and that Costa Rica must observe the rules of civilized war- 
fare and inflict no barbarities on Walker's men, even though they 
might be guilty of a misdemeanour by leaving their own country.^ 
Mora took personal command, leaving the government in the 
hands of the vice-president, and mobilized his forces at San Jose 
on March 3.^ To facilitate enlistments, he decreed that all 
who enrolled, from sergeants down, should be exempt from legal 
process or foreclosure for debts or contracts assumed before en- 
listing until one month after the close of the campaign. Rivas 
retaliated on March 11 by declaring war against Costa Rica. 
Walker also issued an address, stating that he had been invited 
to Nicaragua by the Democratic party, and that he and his men 
had steadily struggled to carry out the principles for which the 
revolution of 1854 was undertaken ; that he had held in check his 
Democratic friends and had sought to conciliate their opponents ; 
that the provisional government had sought to establish friendly 
relations with other republics and its advances had been repelled 
with scorn; that the Legitimists in Nicaragua had sought to 
undermine the provisional government by giving aid and en- 
couragement to its enemies outside the republic ; and that nothing 
was left for the Americans but to offer eternal hostility to Servile ^ 
governments throughout Central America. He concluded the 
address by ordering the troops to assume and wear the red ribbon 
of the Democrats.* This last step was taken on account of the 
conduct of the Legitimists, but it was virtually a declaration of 

1 Senate Ex. Doc. 68, 34 Cong., 1 Sess. « Monttifar, 224-47. 

» The Servile party in other states corresponded to the Legitimist party in 

* MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Despatches, Nicara- 
gua, II. ; El Nicaraguense, March 15, 1856; Walker, War in Nicaragua, 180-1. 


civil war in Nicaragua, and made the Americans again the cham- 
pions of a party rather than of a united government. It also set 
the entire Central American household against the man who 
had declared eternal warfare on the dominant party in these 

On March 4 the vanguard of the Costa Rican invaders set 
out from San Jose, commanded by General Jose Joaquin Mora, 
a brother of the president. While President Mora had fulminated 
against the employment of foreigners in the military service of 
Nicaragua, he had no scruples against utilizing them in his own 
army, and they were most efficient allies. A Frenchman by the 
name of Marie, who despised everything American and had used 
a vitriolic pen in attacking the filibusters in the Boletin Oficial, 
accompanied Mora to the front as sub-secretary of foreign affairs. 
An officer of Zouaves, Lieutenant-Colonel Barillier, rendered invalu- 
able service in the field. Spanish agents also made themselves use- 
ful, not so much on account of friendliness to their kinsmen as out of 
resentment at American expansion, which they feared would end 
in their country's loss of Cuba.^ The Costa Ricans marched to 
Punta Arenas and crossed the Gulf of Nicoya in boats, a number of 
which were supplied by the captain of a French merchant vessel 
in the harbour. Mora also sent a detachment of men down the 
Serapiqui River, a southern tributary of the San Juan, with the 
purpose of dislodging a small American force at Hipp's Point, 
where the two streams unite. These troops had been intercepting 
the Costa Rican mails, which went to San Jose by that route, and 
had enabled Walker to learn some interesting facts concerning 
Costa Rica's foreign relations. It was also the purpose of this 
expedition after seizing the Point, to prevent the steamers going 
up the river and thus make effective the paper blockade which 
Mora had proclaimed. The Costa Ricans attacked the Americans 
at Hipp's Point on April 10 and though they were repulsed and 

1 Monttifar, 259-62. 


the Americans retained the post they reported a great victory, 
which was duly celebrated at home.^ 

When hostilities began Walker had an effective fighting force of 
about six hundred Americans. The last recruits sent by the old 
Transit Company arrived on March 9, just two days before the 
declaration of war, under the command of Domingo de Goicouria, 
a Cuban patriot, who had joined Walker after the latter had agreed 
to aid in the Americanization of Cuba when his work in Nica- 
ragua was finished. It was to be six weeks before additional rein- 
forcements were to come on the steamers of Morgan and Garrison. 
The cholera, too, had attacked the forces in Granada and had 
carried off some of the best officers, among them Gilman and 
Davidson, who had served under Walker in Lower California. 
To obtain the support of the Democrats, Walker not only assumed 
the red ribbon, but also consented to the transfer of the capital to 
Leon. Prominent Democrats now renewed their allegiance. 
Jerez, who had withdrawn from the cabinet after the refusal of 
Walker to aid Cabanas, became minister of war, and two other 
Democrats received cabinet appointments.^ To avoid the delays 
in public business which would ensue from the seat of government 
being in the North while hostilities were carried on in the South, 
Fermin Ferrer was left in Granada with authority to transact 
all business in the Oriental and Meridional departments. This 
really created two governments. On arriving at Leon, Rivas 
issued a proclamation stating that his object in coming north 
was to be nearer the governments of Honduras, Salvador, and 
Guatemala, with whom he desired to cultivate friendly relations. 
This is strangely inconsistent with Walker's address, in which 
he declared eternal enmity to the Servile governments of Central 
America. Walker shrewdly suspected that the plan to make Leon 

» Montdfar, 309-12. 

' MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Despatches, Nica- 
ragua, II. 


the capital was prompted largely by a desire to split the country 
and weaken his hold upon it. On the 12th Walker despatched a 
battalion of four companies into Guanacaste to meet the threatened 
invasion. Schlessinger was put in command of the expedition, 
partly as a balm to his wounded feelings, and partly because 
Walker thought that his resentment at his ill-treatment as com- 
missioner would make him fight more strenuously. Of these four 
companies, one consisted entirely of Frenchmen and another of 
Germans. Most of the command consisted of raw recruits that 
had arrived only three days previously, and few of these knew 
aught of military service. Walker says that Schlessinger was the 
only ofiicer who could address every man in his own language, and 
that this was an additional reason for his choice as commander. 
There was also a reason, which he does not give, for his selection 
of such raw soldiers for the march. His other men were enervated 
by climate, fever, dysentery, cholera, and dissipation, and he 
desired to use his recruits for the arduous march before their 
strength was wasted in the same manner. The outcome, however, 
was disastrous. Schlessinger was no military leader. On the 
march he used no advance guard and took no precautions. His 
battalion was little more than a rabble. On March 20, after 
he had crossed the frontier and proceeded about thirty miles 
southward, Schlessinger was suddenly attacked by the advance 
guard of the Costa Rican army at the hacienda of Santa Rosa. 
The attack took him by surprise; the Germans beat a hasty re- 
treat, the French soon followed, and the American officers tried 
in vain to hold the men in line and repel the enemy's advance. 
In five minutes, however, the entire command, headed by Schles- 
singer, was in a complete rout. Their leader was later court- 
martialed for cowardice and condemned to be shot, but effected 
his escape. The loss to Walker was about a hundred men. When 
the main body of his army reached Santa Rosa, Mora executed 
his previous threats and ordered all the prisoners to be court- 


martialed and shot, including even the wounded.^ He had car- 
ried a printing press with him, and now used it to pubHsh a decree 
that all filibusters taken with arms in their hands should be shot, 
but that all who had not used their arms against Costa Rica and 
would surrender of their own free will should be pardoned.^ This 
was published in English, French, German, and Spanish, and ap- 
pended to the decree, as a stern warning, was a list of the pris- 
oners taken and shot at Santa Rosa.^ The fugitives from the en- 
gagement came straggling into Virgin Bay, and it was several 
weeks before the last of them arrived, as many lost their way."* 
Their stories caused the men to grow very despondent. Walker 
himself was ill with fever and suffering from a severe swelling in 
his face, when the first news of this reverse reached him, and a 
letter which he wrote to Senator Weller of California at this time 
shows that he, too, was in greatly depressed spirits.^ Among the 
Americans not connected with the government there was almost 
a stampede to return to the United States. This also had its bad 
effect on the morale of the troops. Walker decided to move his 
entire force from Granada to Rivas. This would enable him 

1 War in Nicaragua, 182-6. 

» State Department, Bureau of Indexes and Archives. The Nicaraguan De- 
spatches, MS. Vol. II., contain a copy of this, Boletin del Ejercito Republica de Costa 
Rica, dated March 27, 1856. 

' One of the prisoners proved to be a newspaper correspondent for the New 
Orleans Delta, Philip E. Toothey. He had been wounded, though not participating 
in the skirmish, and on satisfying his captors that he was not a soldier his life was 
spared. New York Herald, May 1, 1856. 

* About forty of Schlessinger's men reached Greytown in terrible destitution, and 
caused great alarm among the poor villagers, who had little to give them but were 
compelled by the threats of the desperate fellows to give them food. The natives 
appealed to Captain Tarleton of H. M. S. Eurydice for protection. A collection 
was taken to pay the men's passage out of the country and Tarleton himself sub- 
scribed. MS., Navy Department, Archives, Home Squadron, II., 199. 

» "So far," he wrote, "we have great moral odds against us. The Government 
to which we looked for aid and comfort has treated us with disdain. There has 
been no Government to encourage us, and bid us 'God speed !' Nothing but our 
own sense of the justice of the cause we are engaged in, and of its importance to the 
country of our birth, has enabled us to struggle on as far as we have come." Cotiq. 
Olobe, 34 Cong., 1 Sess., 1070-2. 


better to protect the Transit, which was apparently Mora's ob- 
jective, and would also have a good effect upon the native Nic- 
araguans, who on seeing him advancing to meet the enemy might 
not think that the Santa Rosa affair was a serious reverse. At 
Rivas Walker reorganized the broken companies that were strag- 
gling in from their first skirmish and decided to have no more 
companies of other nationalities. All French and German recruits 
were therefore mustered out of service. Some four hundred of his 
troops were well drilled and disciplined ; the remainder had little 
or no military equipment. Many fugitives from Santa Rosa had 
thrown away their guns, and some arrived minus hats and shoes. 
Altogether, it was not an inspiring sight to see five hundred men, with 
no immediate prospects of reinforcement from the States, on account 
of Morgan and Garrison's tardiness in handling the Transit business, 
preparing to meet an invasion of four thousand, who probably 
would be welcomed and aided by the native population. News 
came from President Rivas of a general movement among the other 
States to unite with Costa Rica. The general depression caused 
many officers to indulge in a prolonged carouse, which was dam- 
aging to discipline. Among those remiss in this particular was 
Walker's brother Norvell, a captain. Walker reduced him to 
ranks, and the punishment had a good effect. On March 30, 
just after arriving in Rivas, Walker had the men paraded in the 
plaza and made them a very frank and pointed talk. He told them 
of their peril, and urged this as a necessity for proper behaviour. 
Not a government in the world was friendly to them. Those 
whom they had benefited had betrayed them ; they stood alone, 
with nothing to rely upon but the justice of their cause. The 
speech was short and without rhetorical effect, but it seemed to 
raise a new spirit in the men.^ 

Mora meanwhile pressed on toward the frontier until he heard 
of Walker's arrival at Rivas. He then stopped, and was watching 

1 War in Nicaragua, 186-8 ; New York Herald, May 9, 1866. 


his adversary at a distance when Walker, who could get no trust- 
worthy information from the natives and knew nothing of the 
size of the Costa Rican force, decided to return to Granada. He 
was moved to this course by the news he had received from the 
provisional president at Leon, who was frightened at the daily 
reports of a northern invasion. These plans of an invasion by 
the northern States were only the recoil from Walker's ill-con- 
sidered proclamation of war against all the Servile governments 
of Central America. His departure from Rivas in the face of the 
enemy looked like a blunder also, and General Goicouria requested 
to be left there with a small detachment to watch and worry the 
enemy. He was abruptly told to mind his business. Rivas was 
thus abandoned after only six days' occupation. The men were 
embarked on a lake steamer and carried to the head of the San 
Juan River, so as to create an impression that they were either 
leaving the country or contemplating a counter-movement on 
Costa Rica. The enemy accepted the former view, and made 
no effort to restrain their departure. After reaching the river 
Walker turned back to Granada, while the Costa Ricans, thinking 
that they now had complete possession, stationed themselves on 
the Transit road and occupied Rivas. On reaching Virgin Bay 
they surrounded the building of the Transit Company, murdered 
nine of its employees, plundered their bodies, ransacked the 
warehouse, and burned the company's new pier, declaring death 
to all Americans.^ 

On reaching Granada Walker heard of the advance of Mora 
and also found letters from Leon awaiting him stating that the 
fears of an invasion in the North had quieted. He at once then 
prepared to march on Rivas direct from Granada. On the way he 
met a detachment of natives he had left at Rivas as a garrison. 
Their leader had deserted to Mora, but they had followed a Cuban 

1 Senate Ex. Doc. 68, 34 Cong., 1 Sess. For this attack by Costa Ricans on 
American persona and property the United States demanded reparation. 


who remained faithful to Walker. The total strength of the force 
was now nearly six' hundred. At eight o'clock on the morning 
of April 11 they reached their objective and began the attack 
upon the town. The Costa Ricans were not expecting an attack, 
though they knew of Walker's approach, and were taken by sur- 
prise. Walker's men entered the town from four different direc- 
tions, and rushing through the streets, captured the plaza and the 
surrounding houses. Then they discovered that they were sur- 
rounded by superior numbers protected behind adobe walls. In 
other words, they captured the centre of the town while the 
enemy was off his guard, but now that he was alert they found 
that their first success had placed them in an awkward predica- 
ment. Without artillery they could never dislodge the Costa 
Ricans from the surrounding houses, and, consequently they 
were in a situation where they could neither advance nor retreat. 
From the roofs of buildings the natives poured a galling fire upon 
any of Walker's men who exposed themselves. The latter, seeing 
that they were in the position of the Cossack who had caught a 
Tartar, became depressed and could not be made to charge 
through the streets in the direction of Mora's headquarters, as 
Walker desired. His officers exposed themselves recklessly, and 
the mortality among them was heavy. American rifles, too, were 
not idle, and two hundred Costa Ricans were killed and four hun- 
dred wounded. Walker's losses in killed and wounded amounted 
to one hundred and twenty. 

By noon the firing lulled. The Costa Ricans set fire to some of 
the buildings around the plaza which were occupied by the Ameri- 
cans and kept up a desultory firing which prevented communica- 
tion between the various houses in which the filibusters were 
sheltered. After nightfall Walker gathered his wounded in a 
church on the plaza and placed near the altar those too seriously 
disabled to be taken away. Horses were brought for those not 
dangerously wounded, and at midnight the whole command 


silently withdrew from the town, protected by darkness and the 
exhaustion of their enemy. When morning dawned the Costa 
Ricans were still ignorant of the departure of the invaders. Walk- 
er's brother Norvell had fallen asleep in the tower of the church, 
and his companions had stolen away so quietly that he was not 
awakened. Great was his surprise to find himself alone, but he 
managed to pass through the town unmolested, as the enemy 
were still sheltering themselves from the dreaded rifles, and he 
overtook the rear-guard some miles from Rivas.^ W^hen the 
Costa Ricans finally discovered that the enemy had gone they 
entered the church and bayoneted the wounded near the altar. 
They also shot seventeen prisoners.^ 

The campaign so far had shown that Walker possessed personal 
bravery but no generalship. Abandoning Rivas in the face of 
the enemy, he allowed them to seize the Transit road and destroy 
for the time being his means of communication, not to mention 
their massacre of inoffensive Americans at Virgin Bay. After 
allowing them to ensconce themselves in force at the town which 
he should have held against them, he marched his men fifty miles 
and attacked the enemy in numbers five times as great as his own 
and sheltered behind adobe walls. The attack was made, too, 
with only rifles and revolvers. While he inflicted losses five times 
as great as those he suffered, every man he lost counted much more 

» War in Nicaragua, 197-203 ; Monttifar, 325-30. 

• This is frankly stated by Walker's most hostile critic. See Perez, Memorias, 
pt. 2, p. 48. Mora, too, in his official report, admits putting the wounded to the 
bayonet. See Monttifar, 331. The battle gave immortality to a Costa Rican 
common soldier by the name of Juan Santamaria. In the height of the conflict 
General Cafias called for a volunteer to set fire to a building where some well- 
Bheltered Americans were giving much trouble. Though the attempt meant al- 
most certain death, Santamaria responded, shouting to his companions not to 
forget his mother. Seizing a torch, he started at a run and applied it to the eaves. 
A bullet disabled his right arm, but he took the torch in his left hand and continued 
his work till another shot felled him to the ground. His countrymen have com- 
memorated his heroism with a public monument. See Las Fiestas del 16 de Setiem- 
bre de 1896 Celebrados con Motivo de la inauguracidn del Monumento Nacional Eri- 
gido en San Josi d los Hiroea del 66 y del 67, 28. (San Jo86, 1897.) 


than did the loss of a Costa Rican. He was lucky to have extri- 
cated himself from such a difficult position. 

But while Walker was not a good general. Mora was not even 
a soldier. He not only allowed himself to be surprised, but after 
checking and repelling the attack he did not know how to pursue 
the retreating foe.^ Instead, he remained at Rivas, which was an 
unwholesome town at best, and did not even have enough knowl- 
edge of sanitation to bury or burn the putrefying bodies, which 
were thrown indiscriminately into public wells, poisoning both 
the air and the water. On the 15th he sent home an account of 
a glorious victory, but at the same time forbade any of his soldiers 
to write letters home. "All the time," he said in his official re- 
port, "prisoners, wounded and unwounded, are coming in. Up 
to to-day seventeen have been shot. In brief, our loss, counting 
the mortally wounded, will not exceed one hundred and ten men, 
including the officers ; that of the enemy not less than two hun- 
dred, including those we have shot." He also stated that Walker's 
forces were from twelve hundred to thirteen hundred men, while his 
own were about the same or somewhat less on account of the de- 
tached bodies used to garrison Virgin Bay and San Juan del Sur.^ 
Strange to relate, after stating his losses as being so small, he goes 
on to explain that he did not pursue W^alker because his men were 
exhausted, and it was necessary to give his attention to his wounded. 
He thus refutes himself with his own words. 

In spite of bombastic reports of a great victory and the ban on 
letters from the soldiers, the news of Mora's great losses sifted 
through and caused more apprehension than would have ensued 
if the people had been told the truth. Dr. Lorenzo Monttifar, 

* Perez says, "Mora abounded in patriotism and in noble ambition, but he was 
no soldier." Trans, from Memorias, pt. 2, 49. Montufar (p. 331) agrees, saying 
that if military capacity existed in Central America in that period it was not foimd 
among the soldiers. Mora is characterilzed by him as no soldier, but a patriotic 
and popular merchant. 

« Montiifar, 325-7. 


the Costa Rican historian, was then employed in the office of the 
Boletin Oficial, and relates from his own observations how that 
journal gradually broke the news to the people.^ 

Cholera soon appeared at Rivas and proved more effective in 
thinning the ranks of the Costa Ricans than the most accurate 
American riflemen. The insanitary conditions already described 
aided in the spread of the malady. The mortality was frightful ; 
news came, too, that the people at home were about to break into 
a rebellion against Mora. As the news gradually reached them of 
the real losses on April 11 their rejoicing over a victory was 
turned into sorrow for the fallen. The war had burdened them 
heavily, and a revolution was brewing. Mora hurried back to 
San Jose and left his brother-in-law, General Jose Maria Caiias, 
in charge of the troops. But the rigours of the pestilence contin- 
ued without abatement, and Canas made immediate preparations 
to abandon the stricken town and hasten home with such as were 
still well and strong. And now a wonderful thing happened. 
Those who had cried no quarter were compelled to ask it. Canas 
sent Walker a courteous note asking his attention for the sick that 
he was compelled to leave behind. It was strange indeed that the 
Costa Ricans, who had put wounded men to the bayonet and shot 
their prisoners, should now ask favours of the man they had pro- 
claimed a bandit. " In regard for the truth," says the unfriendly 
Perez, "we must say that Walker treated with humanity the 
soldiers that were commended to him." ^ No American, of 
course, is surprised that Walker obeyed the dictates of simple 
humanity in this instance, but he is surprised that Caiias should 
expect a "pirate" and "freebooter" to heap coals of fire upon an 
enemy's head. The march of Caiias homeward was a trail of 
death. To reduce contagion, the army was broken into small 

1 Montufar, 342-5. 

« "En honor de la verdad debemos decir que Walker trato con humanidad & los 
soldado3 que le fueron recomendados." Memorias, pt. 2, p. 51. 


groups, but they spread the infection throughout the country they 
traversed. Over five hundred bodies were interred on the beach at 
San Juan del Sur, where the waves and tides soon exposed the 
gruesome remains; and for many months afterward whitening 
skeletons lined the shore and glistened in the sun.^ By the mid- 
dle of May the last of the survivors of the army that had set out 
for Nicaragua on March 3 was back at home. The pestilence 
continued. The vice-president of Costa Rica fell a victim, and it 
was estimated that it claimed the lives of between ten and twelve 
thousand people. ^ The bishop ordered the clergy to recite the 
prayer Pro tempore pestilentiw, but piety was unavailing against 
the plague. 

The cholera now became more virulent also in the American 
camp, though the Americans showed less susceptibility to the 
malady than the natives. The losses from war and disease were 
counterbalanced to some extent by the arrival of an Atlantic 
steamer bringing passengers and two hundred recruits under the 
leadership of Hornsby, who had been absent for some time in the 
United States. Unfortunately, Morgan and Garrison had not 
yet installed their Pacific service, and the passengers from the 
East were compelled to remain a month in Nicaragua. They 
observed the ravages of plague and fever, and some of them suc- 
cumbed thereto. The others, on reaching California, gave such 
dismal accounts of Walker's situation that numbers refrained 
from emigrating to Nicaragua, and his cause was seriously in- 
jured. Among the last recruits was Walker's youngest brother 
James, who was promoted to a captaincy. His career as a 
soldier was short, however, as he soon succumbed to the 

During the invasion the Legitimists in Chontales and Segovia 
had arisen against the provisional government, but these disturb- 

1 Jamison, With Walker in Nicaragua, 89. 

« Belly, A Travers VAmirigue Centrale, I., 284. 


ances were easily quelled. Goicouria with a company of Ran- 
gers scoured the hills of Chontales, and Valle, Walker's old Indian 
ally, who had been made governor of Segovia, stamped out the 
opposition there. Some Legitimists in the Meridional depart- 
ment had joined the invaders, and Walker squared accounts with 
them also. On the surface the country was now completely paci- 
fied. Walker removed his troops from Granada, which was now 
a hotbed of fever and cholera, and quartered them at Virgin Bay. 
Cholera appeared there also, but the place was more healthful 
than the old capital. Detachments of men were sent into every 
corner of the department to create confidence in the strength of 
the government. 

The war was now a thing of the past, and the advantages seemed 
to be entirely with Walker. His losses had been compensated by 
reinforcements ; the enemy had retired and was in no position to 
return to the attack. The only immediate foes to be dreaded 
were fever and cholera. There were two things, however, that 
caused Walker much anxiety. Randolph, who since the revoca- 
tion of the Transit Company's charter had been detained at 
Realejo by a serious illness, was now able to make the journey to 
New York, and in passing through Virgin Bay he told Walker 
that there was mischief brewing at Leon, whither the capital had 
been removed. 

The other cause of anxiety was less immediate, but was a source 
of grave concern. As soon as Costa Rica declared war. Walker 
had caused the English mail for San Jose to be intercepted at 
Hipp's Point as it passed up the San Juan River. In this way he 
secured a letter from E. Wallerstein, the Costa Rican consul- 
general at London, acquainting his government with the willing- 
ness of the British War Department to sell arms to Costa Rica, 
leaving it for the latter to decide when they should be paid for. 
There was also a private letter from Wallerstein to Mora saying, 
"When I was telling Lord Clarendon Costa Rica had already an 


army of eight hundred men on the frontiers, he was much pleased, 
and said that was a right step ; and I am persuaded my having 
made that intimation is the reason for their giving us the 
muskets." ^ 

We know more about this matter to-day than Walker had any 
chance of knowing. On January 5 the Costa Rican consul asked 
for arms for Guatemala, and on January 12 asked on behalf of 
his own country for two thousand muskets " required for the pur- 
pose of arming the population for the security of the country 
against aggression." These muskets were to be paid for "at the 
earliest practicable period consistently with the exertions which 
Costa Rica is now making." Both requests were granted, and the 
consul was allowed his choice of two patterns of smooth-bore weap- 
ons. He then wrote to the superintendent of the royal small 
arms factory at Enfield for advice as to the better type. The 
latter replied March 4, 1856, stating that as " the troops under Mr. 
Walker, against whom you may have to defend yourselves, are 
probably armed, either wholly or in part, with rifles, I should be 
wrong in counselling you to select any but rifled arms, and I think 
Her Majesty's Government would not object to my selecting the 
required number of smooth-bored muskets ; and I could arrange 
for their being rifled and sighted, which operations, including such 
repairs as may be necessary, would amount to IQs. each arm." 
This sympathetic officer, Lieutenant-Colonel M. H. Dixon, also rec- 
ommended that the consul purchase a million rounds of ammuni- 
tion, with caps, bayonet scabbards, and all other necessary equip- 
ment from the British government's stores. On March 18 the 
War Department formally approved Dixon's recommendation that 
two thousand muskets be rifled for the Costa Rican government.^ 
The British government had a right, of course, to sell arms to 

1 Walker, War in Nicaragua, 174-6,; MS., State Department, Bureau of In- 
dexes and Archives, Despatches, Nicaragua, II. 

> British State Papers, XLVI., 784-5 ; 794, 796, 803. 


another government, but the story as revealed by the correspond- 
ence indicates its decided hostiUty to Walker. Indeed, on April 
25 a member of the House of Commons asked Lord Palmerston 
if it were true, as reported, that the government intended to send 
troops into Costa Rica to operate against Walker. Palmerston 
replied in the negative.^ 

Costa Rica's relations with England in this period were not 
confined to requests for arms. Wallerstein, on December 22, 
1855, notified Clarendon of the invasion of Nicaragua by Walker 
and Kinney, calling attention to the importance of the Central 
American isthmus to Great Britain, and stating that Costa Rica 
was defenceless and had incurred the hostility of the United 
States on account of its British leanings. "May I not venture," 
he concludes, " to solicit that Great Britain shall adopt effectual 
measures, founded upon some great international principle, which 
may extend the countenance and protection of the powerful allies 
in Europe — more particularly of the great maritime States — 
to youthful and comparatively weak countries and territories, 
against the system of unprincipled aggression which is calculated 
to retard, if not to ruin their career as civilized nations, and 
has become intolerable?" A week later Palmerston received a 
similar request from Joaquin Bernardo Calvo, the Costa Rican 
minister of foreign affairs, who in specific terms asked that the 
alliance of England and France should " not be confined solely to 
the liberation of Turkey, but will reach wherever it is necessary 
to defend right against might, or innocence against injustice." 
Calvo also asked that a British war vessel should be placed in the 
Gulf of Nicoya to prevent an invasion of Costa Rica from the 
Pacific. The government consented to this, shrewdly stipulat- 
ing, however, that the cruiser would visit the coast to protect 
British interests. For this Wallerstein returned the thanks 
of his government, adding "the hope and expectation . . . 

> Haneard'a Debates, 3d Series, CXLI, 1536-0. 


that the interests of Costa Rica will be included in this 
protectorate." ^ 

It is hard to repel the idea that British jealousy was a stumbling- 
block in the path of civilization at this time as much in the Carib- 
bean as in the Crimea. 

» Bntiah State Papers, XLVI., 786, 789, 797. 


Walker Becomes PREsroENT 

At the same time that the capital was transferred from Granada 
to Leon, steps were taken to bring an end to the provisional gov- 
ernment and to restore the political machinery as it was provided 
for in the constitution of 1838. An election, therefore, was or- 
dered to be held on Sunday, April 13, to choose a president, 
senators, and members of Congress.^ The election was conducted 
on this and several succeeding Sundays, but only in those places 
not disturbed by the Costa Ricans. The vote for president was 
distributed among Rivas, Jerez, and Salazar, but as the returns 
were very incomplete the election was not regarded as valid. The 
Democratic leaders, however, now objected to another election, 
though they had favoured this one. A number of them thought 
that the results of the ballots already cast should stand, and 
that the other districts, such as Chontales and Segovia, where 
there had been no voting, should now be allowed to express their 
choice. The reason for this change of attitude is readily explained. 
If their plan were carried out, the choice of a president would fall 
upon one of the three named. If a new election were held, the 
choice would probably be Walker. The result of the Costa 
Rican invasion and the threatened invasion by other States con- 
vinced many that Walker was a fit person to head the government 
in its crisis ; but the real reason of Walker's strength as a candi- 
date was that the people of the South felt that any of the three 
Democrats named above would, if chosen, remove the capital 

» MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Despatches, Nica- 
ragua, II. 



permanently to Leon. Granadinos therefore were urgent for a 
new election, and Walker was their candidate. On June 4 
Walker went to Leon, where he was joyfully received by the people 
as their deliverer. A great feast was prepared in his honour; 
women of every age and rank gathered in the courtyard of the 
house where he was quartered, and thanked him for protecting 
their homes. Musicians came and in improvised songs sang the 
praises of American valour. News soon arrived of the reception 
of Vijil at Washington and of the arrival at Granada of one hun- 
dred and eighty more recruits.^ 

The commander-in-chief urged that Rivas order a new election 
while the State was still quiet and before the threatened northern 
invasion interfered with public order. Whether this was a real 
or feigned reason of Walker's, it is difficult to say. The news of 
Vijil's recognition and of more recruits so strengthened Walker's 
position that Rivas acceded to his request, and on June 10 or- 
dered an immediate election. The next day Walker left Leon 
for Granada, escorted by his company of Rangers. President 
Rivas and a number of officials accompanied him some distance 
from the city, and when they separated Rivas embraced the 
commander very affectionately. Jerez, the minister of war, re- 
mained behind, and had shown signs of disaffection. Trouble 
at once broke out between him and the German officer, 'Bruno 
Von Natzmer, whom Walker had left in Leon with his company 
of the Rifles. A few native troops were stationed as a gar- 
rison in the towers of the cathedral. Natzmer ordered these out 
and placed his Rifles there. Jerez, on hearing of this, counter- 
manded Natzmer's order and told him to return to his regu- 
lar quarters. The officer refused to obey without first consult- 
ing his commander-in-chief. This caused the native officials to 
become greatly excited, and Natzmer created further alarm when 
he put a squad of his soldiers in charge of a place called El 

I War in Nicaragua, 216-20. 


Principal, which contained the arms and munitions of the city. 
The rumour then spread that Rivas and Jerez were to be arrested, 
along with other leading Democrats, and the president and his 
minister of war at once fled the city, taking the road to Chinandega. 
The only Democrat connected with the government who remained 
was Walker's faithful adherent, Fermin Ferrer. The Leonese 
became furiously excited and swarmed in the streets shouting 
" Death to the Americans! " Natzmer sent for a detachment of 
men stationed in Chinandega, concentrated his forces in the plaza, 
and prepared to defend himself. He also sent a courier to over- 
take Walker with a report of what had occurred. All this took 
place the very day after Walker's departure and only eight days 
after the inhabitants had vied with one another in shouting his 
praises. The mercurial temperament of the Latin-American 
passes the understanding of the peoples of the North. The real 
secret of this sudden revulsion was a report that Jerez and his 
henchmen had sedulously spread, after they had failed to prevent 
a decree for a new election. They had persuaded the Leonese that 
Walker intended to remove the capital back to Granada. The 
fatal jealousy of Leonese and Granadinos was thus at the bottom 
of the agitation. 

For two days after leaving Leon Rivas and Jerez lay hidden 
in a gatrden and on June 14 they went to Chinandega and sent 
a communication to the governments of Guatemala and San 
Salvador asking their aid in expelling the invaders. Guatemala 
had already taken the field. Rivas also revoked his decree of 
the 10th ordering a new election.^ 

In the meantime this news had reached Walker while he was 
en route to Granada. He at once ordered Natzmer to obey 
Jerez's order and withdraw from Leon, hoping to deprive the 
minister of any excuse for offering resistance. He tarried on the 
way until Natzmer's Rifles joined him and then proceeded to 

' Monttifar, 472-80; El Nicaraguenae, June 14 and 21, 1856. 


Granada. His men had been scattered in small detachments all 
the way from Leon to Castillo Viejo on the San Juan River, for 
the purpose of impressing the people with the strength of the 
provisional government, an4 he now began to concentrate them 
at the old Legitimist capital and prepare for emergencies. 

This was a typical Latin- American revolution. It had now 
passed its first stage, that of a factional explosion and the flight 
of the leaders of the weaker party, and was entering upon the 
second, that of the bombastic pronunciamientos and counter- 
pronunciamientos. At this stage Walker took the initiative. 
On the 20th he issued a decree, drawn up with his lawyer's in- 
genuity, stating that the powers conferred upon Rivas as provi- 
sional president were but a delegation of the powers that had 
been conferred upon Walker by the government when it com- 
missioned him, soon after his arrival, as "expeditionary general." 
The idea underlying this statement seemed to be that Rivas owed 
his position to the two contracting generals who drew up the 
treaty of October 23; hence the provisional president was the 
creature and Walker the creator. Furthermore, the decree 
stated that when Rivas went to Leon in March he had delegated 
his powers in the South to Walker and Ferrer to maintain order ; 
that he had betrayed his duties in the North by inviting an enemy 
to invade the country ; and that, inasmuch as Walker had solemnly 
sworn to maintain the safety of the republic, he now declared 
null and void all acts of Patricio Rivas since the abandonment of 
his sworn duties on June 12, and appointed Fermin Ferrer 
provisional president until an election could be held in accordance 
with the decree of June 10. All who in any way aided or obeyed 
Rivas were declared traitors to the republic.^ It is useless to 
examine the lawfulness of Walker's claim of the right to depose 
and set up provisional presidents. All the acts were revolutionary, 
and must be judged by results. Walker's statements were true 

1 El Nicaraguense, June 21. 


only if he were able to demonstrate that they were matters of fact. 
Two addresses followed, one to the people of Nicaragua and the 
other to the army. To the Nicaraguans he stated that Americans 
had endm'ed pestilence in camp and ^ad poiu-ed out their blood on 
the field of battle in order to consolidate the government and 
maintain the peace and honour of the State. In return for this 
they had received only the bare necessities of life, and the officials 
had excited the people against them. He, therefore, in the name 
of the people, declared the old government abolished and ap- 
pointed a new provisional government until the nation could 
exercise its right to choose its own rulers. To the army he stated 
that the late government had refused to pay the soldiers and was 
no longer entitled to their respect ; but that the new provisional 
government would be more mindful of its duties.^ 

Ferrer at once assumed his duties as provisional president, and 
on the 21st he too issued a proclamation to the inhabitants, de- 
claring that the neighbouring republics, on the pretext of driving 
out foreigners, aimed merely to dominate Nicaragua. He called 
the Americans faithful brothers "who, though not born on this 
soil, have left their homes and crossed the ocean in order to take 
part in your struggles, fighting for your liberty." The Legiti- 
mists were called "those unnatural sons who will not remember 
that no longer than seven months ago a great revolution was 
ended in which many of your fathers, brothers, and sons were 
the victims." ^ 

It was now the turn of Rivas to issue a rhetorical counterblast. 
It came on the 26th. Walker was declared a traitor and deposed 
from the position "with which the republic had honoured him." 
All who remained with Walker, whether foreign or native, were 
also declared traitors, and those who had served him were ordered 
to sever their connection and submit to the Rivas government, 
which would receive them into its service if they desired, or they 

» El Nicaraguenae, June 21. « New York Herald, July 17, 1856. 


might remain in the country as Nicaraguans. All Nicaraguans 
between the ages of fifteen and sixty were ordered to take arms 
against Walker and his men. He also revoked the powers of 
Vijil and designated Irisarri, then representing Guatemala and 
San Salvador, to represent his government also at Washington. 

There were now three claimants to the presidency : Estrada in 
Segovia, who as the successor of Chamorro still claimed to be the 
lawful ruler; Rivas in Chinandega; and Ferrer in Granada. 
The decree of the 10th had set the elections on Sunday, June 29. 
Though annulled by Rivas on the 14th it had been reaflSrmed on 
the 20th by Walker, who at the same time declared all acts of 
Rivas since the 12th (the day of his flight) null and void. There 
were thus eight days in which to notify the people of the country 
of the impending election. It should also be noted that the 
decree provided for a direct election, which was an innovation in 
Nicaragua and would require time to be put into practical working 
order. As the country had neither telegraphs nor railways, and 
only the most primitive methods of transmitting intelligence, it 
is unlikely that many of the populace were informed of the politi- 
cal contest except in places like Granada, Rivas, and San Juan del 
Sur. Moreover, as the people were largely illiterate and without 
political experience, it is improbable that they could master the 
details of a new method of choosing an executive on such short 
notice. The northern districts, too, were in the hands of Walker's 
enemies, and it is inconceivable that an election could have been 
held, for instance, in the city of Leon, where Walker and all who 
obeyed his orders had been proclaimed traitors. These facts are 
given as showing that a fair and full expression of opinion from the 
people on the question of the presidency on June 29, 1856, was 
utterly impracticable. Nevertheless, some sort of an election was 
held, and Walker was declared to be the successful candidate. 
The "official" vote, as published in Walker's paper, was as fol- 
lows: Walker, 15,835 ; Ferrer, 4,447; Rivas, 867; Salazar, 2,087. 



The question of the authenticity of these figures naturally 
arises. They show a total vote of 23,236 out of a total voting 
population of 35,000., El Nicaraguense declared that the entire 
people took an interest in the election, and that returns were 
received from all but a few unimportant precincts. Remarkable 
as this statement appears, it is still more surprising to learn that 
"In Leon the struggle was very exciting, the strong Democratic 
friends of General Walker urging his claims with great enthusiasm, 
and we are proud to note that .though Leon is the chief point of 
dissatisfaction, owing to the intrigues and falsehoods of the late 
President and his cabinet, the Democratic candidates still received 
an almost equal number with the opposition." The vote is given 
in the paper in tabular form and is arranged by provinces and 
precincts. The returns from the province of Leon are especially 
interesting, for the reason that Rivas was there and Walker's 
men had all withdrawn. Moreover, the order for an election had 
been annulled by the man in power in Leon. According to the 
published returns, however, the vote in three towns of this province 
was as follows : 






Leon .... 
Realejo . . . 


















The returns also indicate voting in nineteen precincts in Segovia 
and in ten in Chontales. "After a tedious delay," said the editor, 
"the election returns have all been received, and after a still fur- 
ther delay on our part in overlooking a lot of documents and 
vouchers weighing half a ton, we have been successful in arriving 
at the votes of the various towns in the different departments." 
If it took so long to get the returns, one might ask, would it not 


have taken an equally long time to have notified the people that 
that contest was to be held? The entire story of the election 
bears on its face the evidence of mendacity. Indeed, Walker re- 
futes a part of it himself, when he says, " The voting was general 
in the Oriental and Meridional Departments ; but as D. Patricio 
Rivas rescinded his own decree after reaching Chinandega, and 
as the Guatemalans had already passed the northern frontier of the 
State there were no ballots cast in the Occidental Department." ^ 
The Occidental department corresponded roughly with the prov- 
ince of Leon. Either Walker or his editor, therefore, is guilty 
of falsehood. It is of course the editor ; his excessive zeal caused 
him to publish a fictitious story of a keenly contested election in 
Leon, whereas not a vote was cast there. Since one part of the 
story in El Nicaraguense has been proven so palpably false, the 
rest of it also falls under grave suspicion. 

What Walker's enemies say of the election may now prove 
interesting. According to Perez, the holding of a direct election 
for president was unconstitutional, and the same was true of votes 
given to a soldier in actual service and to a foreigner. He says 
that ballot boxes were set up in a few pueblos around Granada 
and Rivas, and there the soldiers and other American adventurers, 
as well as a few natives, cast their votes for Walker. In Granada 
lists were made up for all the departments, and the vote recorded 
for them was estimated on the supposed number of votes in each 
place, due care being taken that Walker should get a substantial 
majority. Even the remotest valleys and hamlets were counted 
in, and a number of dead towns, destroyed by fire or abandoned 
during past wars, were also included. These lists were placed in 
envelopes as if they actually came from the various precincts and 
were sent to Ferrer's office, where they were opened and the votes 

1 War in Nicaragua, 228. 

» Perez, Memorias, pt. 2, 77-8 ; Montdfar, 489. A returned soldier, in Septem- 
ber, 1856, told a representative of the San Francisco Bulletin that all the soldiers 


Walker was declared duly elected, and though the election had 
no legality, his claim to the office was at least as good as that of 
his two competitors, Rivas and Estrada. The latter could base 
his claim only on a decree which he had issued declaring himself 
the chief executive ; the former had been recognized only because 
he had behind him the support of the arms of Walker. 

Ferrer named July 12 as the day for Walker's inauguration. 
A platform was erected on the plaza and decorated with the flags 
of Nicaragua, the United States, and France, and with the Lone 
Star of Cuba. Every effort was employed to make the ceremonies 
impressive. The inaugural parade began at eleven o'clock. 
Companies of soldiers, a band of music, the municipal officers, 
foreign consuls, the general officers and their staffs, Minister 
Wheeler and his suite, and Ferrer and Walker with the presidential 
suite passed through the streets to the plaza. Ferrer administered 
the oath to his successor, and Walker solemnly swore, on bended 
knee, to govern the free republic of Nicaragua, to maintain its 
independence and territorial integrity, to do justice in accordance 
with republican principles, to uphold the laws of God, the true 
profession of the Gospel, and the religion of the Crucified One. In 
a eulogistic address Ferrer then placed into Walker's hands the 
destinies of Nicaragua. Walker followed with his inaugural 
address, which though rather trite, as such compositions usually 
are, would have been a creditable performance by any chief ex- 
ecutive. He began with an appeal to all good citizens to assist 
him in conducting the affairs of the government with wisdom and 
prudence and in maintaining that order which is the first requisite 
in any well-governed state. The 15th of September, 1821, he 

were allowed to vote, and that some voted as often as twenty times, but that this 
made no difference, for the returns were made up in Granada later just to suit the 
fancy of those in control of the election. A correspondent of the Tribune called 
attention to the fact that in some cases the majorities which Walker received were 
over four times the total population. Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 155a ; New York 
Herald, Oct. 14, 1856. 


said, was the beginning of a revolutionary epoch in Nicaragua, 
and he hoped that this day would mark its end. He next dis- 
cussed the hostility of the four other Central American States to 
the new government and declared that they would be powerless 
to check the march of events in Nicaragua. Most significant, 
however, were his comments concerning the relations of Nicaragua 
with the greater nations. It had been commonly supposed in the 
United States and in Europe that Walker contemplated seeking 
annexation as soon as he had made his position secure. Only his 
most intimate friends — and these were few — thought other- 
wise. His address gives the first public pronouncement of his ul- 
timate purposes with regard to annexation, but the language em- 
ployed is so general that few, if any, grasped its real significance^ 
"In our relations with the more powerful nations of the world, I 
hope that they may be led to perceive that although Nicaragua 
may be comparatively weak, she is yet jealous of her honour and 
determined to maintain the dignity of her independent sovereignty^ 
Her geographical position and commercial advantages may at- 
tract the cupidity of other governments, either neighbouring or 
distant,^ but I trust that they may yet learn that Nicaragua 
claims to control her own destiny and does not require other 
nationalities to make treaties concerning her territory without 
asking her advice and consent." 

Here we have a distinct thrust at England and the United States, 
who were then wrangling over the interpretation of the Clayton- 
Bulwer treaty and assuming the right to fix the boundaries of 
Nicaragua without consulting that republic. But the president's 
determination to maintain the dignity and sovereignty of his 
adopted country meant more than this, as the sequel will show. 
He was dreaming of creating a new federal government, em- 
bracing the whole of Central America and including Cuba, while 
many of his most faithful followers thought that they were 

J Italics are mine. 


working to bring Nicaragua into the family of great States in the 

Walker delivered his address in English, though he could speak 
Spanish indifferently well, and as his audience was composed 
largely of natives, his Cuban aide. Colonel Laine, followed him 
and read the address in Spanish and with better rhetorical effect 
than could be shown by its author. After the reading of the ad- 
dress a presidential salute of twenty-one guns was fired, and the 
procession headed for the church, where a Te Deum was sung.* 
An inaugural banquet followed the ceremonies. In keeping with 
Walker's temperate habits only light wines were served, but as 
there were fifty persons present and fifty-three toasts were drunk, 
conviviality must not have been lacking. Walker proposed a 
toast to the President of the United States ; Hornsby offered 
one to "Uncle Billy," at which Walker is said to have laughed 
heartily — an occurrence so rare as to deserve recording. 

Two days later the president announced his cabinet, which he 
wisely constituted of Latin- Americans. Ferrer, his fidus Achates, 
became secretary of state ; Mateo Pineda, equally loyal, was made 
secretary of war, and Manuel Carracosa secretary of hacienda. 
It is to be noted, however, that sub-secretaries of state and haci- 
enda were appointed and that these were Americans. The sub- 
secretary of hacienda was William K. Rogers, and to him it fell 
to provide the forces with food, clothing, and other equipment. 
Orders were issued that all his commands were to be respected 
as if issued by the head of the department, and in executing his 
duties, which soon came to be mainly foraging and paying in 
scrip for the supplies thus taken, Rogers came to be regarded as 
a scourge upon the country. His was a thankless task, but he 
did the work well. 

After providing this machinery of government, Walker next 

» A full account of the inauguratioa is contained in a supplement to El Nica- 
raguense of July 19. 


gave his attention to securing money and inducing immigration. 
The confiscation and sale of the estates of those who, since the 
treaty of October 23, had assisted the known enemies of the 
repubUc was ordered by a decree of July 16. A board of com- 
missioners was appointed to conduct the seizure of such property. 
Within ten days after the seizure lists of the property were to be 
published in El Nicaraguense and the owners cited to appear within 
forty days and show cause why it should not be sold on the ac- 
count of the State. After notification the property was to be sold 
to the highest bidder and might be purchased either with cash or 
with military scrip. A board of appraisers was to fix the value 
of each parcel offered for sale, and no bid of less than two-thirds 
of this valuation was to be accepted.^ This plan afforded a means 
for redeeming military scrip and thus destroying one evidence 
of the republic's indebtedness. It also was designed to tempt 
American investments in the country by offering good lands at 
an upset price far below their value. The issue of El Nicaraguense 
for September 27 contained a list of confiscated property to be 
sold on January 1, 1857, on the plaza in Granada. Between forty 
and fifty farms in the department of Rivas, valued at from three 
hundred to one thousand dollars each, and over one hundred 
pieces of other property — houses, stock ranches, cocoa, indigo, 
sugar and coffee estates, and plantain walks — with a total valu- 
ation of $753,000, were advertised.^ Such proceedings naturally 
alarmed every property-holder in the State, and in themselves 
were sufficient to have precipitated another revolution. 

There was further legislation designed to be highly advantageous 
to prospective American landowners. On July 14 a decree 
was promulgated declaring that "all documents connected with 
public affairs shall be of equal value, whether written in English 

1 El Nicaraguense, July 19, 1856. 

' See also Dublin Review, XLIII, 375 ; Putnam's Monthly, IX., 431 ; and New 
York Herald, Oct. 19, 1856. 


or Spanish." This made it possible for all the proceedings of 
courts and recording of deeds to be made in the English language, 
and would eventually give Americans a decided advantage over 
natives in litigation over land titles. Another decree was issued 
requiring all land titles to be registered within the space of six 
months. The ostensible reason for this decree was that such 
titles were in a state of great confusion, due to their never having 
been registered. The registry system, however, was unknown to 
the native and very familiar to the American, who thus secured 
a great advantage. Walker says : " The general tendency of these 
several decrees was the same. They were intended to place a 
large portion of the land of the country in the hands of the white 
race. The military force of the State might, for a time, secure 
the Republic, but in order that their possession might be per- 
manent, it w^as requisite for them to hold the land." ^ 

On July 31, 1856, Walker decreed a new tariff law, alleging that 
the former regulations failed to give the desired results from 
either a commercial or a fiscal point of view. Flour, meats, lard, 
crockery, potatoes, agricultural implements, books, bells, church 
organs, baggage and furniture for personal use, and seeds, plants, 
and animals designed to improve the breeds of the country were 
placed on the free list. Spirituous liquors and tobacco were sub- 
jected to specific duties, and all other commodities to an ad valorem 
duty of twenty per cent. Nicaragua had no infant industries to 
protect, and the tariff was for revenue only. Three open ports 
were recognized : Realejo, San Juan del Sur, and Greytown. To 
avoid international complications, however, the custom-house of 
the last named port was established in Granada and the goods 
passing through the port were inspected on their way up the river 
at Castillo Viejo.^ 

Other sources of income were the receipts from the sale of li- 
censes to general retailers and to manufacturers of aguardiente 

* War in Nicaragua, 253-4. « El Nicaraguense, Aug. 9, 1866. 


(the national alcoholic beverage). The expenses of course were 
far in excess of the government's income, and current expenses 
were met by issues of scrip at seven per cent, but later issues bore 
no interest. The value fluctuated between five and ten cents on 
the dollar. In addition to scrip, the principal currency seen in 
Nicaragua at this time consisted of small coin in the form of dimes, 
half-dimes, and francs. Perhaps three-fourths of the coin was 
dimes. In trading a distinction was always made between the 
dollar (dinero) and the strong dollar (dinero fuerto). The former 
was the dollar of the country, and passed as the equivalent of 
eight American dimes ; the latter was the equivalent of the Amer- 
ican dollar of ten dimes.^ 

August 20, 1856, was a momentous day in Walker's adminis- 
tration, for it was then that the Hon. Pierre Soule arrived in 
Granada. Early in June Rivas had issued a decree authorizing 

1 El Nicaraguense, May 3, 1856. The following is the formjCnot a facsimile) in 
which Walker's scrip was issued : 

No. 919 FIFTY DOLLARS $50 

The Republic of Nicaragua 

is indebted to /. H. Marshall in the sum of 


for military services rendered to the State 

In witness whereof we have hereunto set our names and 
affixed the great seal of the Republic, at the city of Granada, 
this 30th day of August, 1856. 

Wm. Walker 

President of the Republic 
F, Ferrer 

Minister of Hacienda 

El NlcaraEniense Print 

Across the face of this paper the names of Rogers, Register, and Alex Jones, Pay- 
master, were written with a pen. 


a loan, to be secured by the public lands of the State. The ostensi- 
ble object of Soule's visit was to secure certain modifications in 
this decree so as to make the loan practicable. In this he was 
successful, for on August 28 a new decree was issued authoriz- 
ing a loan of $500,000 for twenty years at six per cent, secured 
by one million acres of public lands. Messrs. M. Pilcher and S. F. 
Slatter of New Orleans were constituted agents for negotiating 
the loan, and arrangements were made for payment of the interest 
at the Bank of Louisiana. Pilcher and Slatter were also made 
agents for the sale of public lands in Nicaragua. The only bonds 
that Walker's government ever disposed of were sold through this 

But this was by no means the only result of Soule's visit. He 
was of foreign birth, but more Southern than most of the South- 
erners themselves, and being a man with magnificent visions he 
managed to impress some of his views upon Walker and to in- 
spire many changes in the latter's programme. This is seen in a 
series of decrees issued by Walker during September, 1856. On 
the 5th there came a decree against vagrants. Persons without 
visible means of support and who refrained for fifteen days from 
seeking employment were to be adjudged guilty of vagrancy and 
sentenced to forced labour on public works from one to six months. 
On the next day came a decree concerning labour contracts. Any 
contract made for labour for a term of months or years was de- 
clared binding on the parties thereto, and any failure on the part 
of the labourer to fulfil the terms would render him liable to a 
sentence to forced labour on public works. 

These decrees were a logical outcome of the efforts to secure 
American investments in Nicaraguan lands. The lands would 
be worthless to the new owners unless they could secure labour. 
It was inconceivable that American landholders in a tropical 
country should till their own fields. If the natives would not 
work, they should be made to work by means of vagrancy and 


labour-contract laws. The ultimate result would be the estab- 
lishment of a system of peonage. It would depress the poor 
>ative but would regenerate the country economically by the 
introduction of capital and superior managerial ability. These, 
however, were not the only available means for the regeneration 
of the country, and it was doubtful if their utilization alone would 
effect any considerable change in the existing social and economic 
order. A more certain supply of labour could be secured only 
by the reintroduction of African slavery. On the 22d of Sep- 
tember, therefore, Walker went a step farther and issued the 
following decree : 

"Article 1. All acts and decrees of the Federal Constituent 
Assembly, as well as of the Federal Congress, are declared null 
and void. 

"Article 2. Nothing herein contained shall affect rights hereto- 
fore vested under the acts and decrees hereby repealed." ^ 

The purpose of this curiously worded decree was the reestab- 
lishment of slavery in Nicaragua. It did not actually restore the 
institution, but prepared the way for it. From 1824 to 1838 
Nicaragua had been a member of the federation of Central Ameri- 
can States, and upon the dissolution of this union all Federal acts 
and decrees not inconsistent with the Nicaraguan constitution 
then adopted were declared to be still in force. Among the acts 
thus remaining in force was one providing for the abolition of 
slavery. The decree of September 22 sponged from the slate 
all the old Federal enactments, but the chief end and aim of the 
measure was to make slavery no longer unlawful in Nicaragua. 

When Walker issued this decree he was confronted with a 
hostile alliance of the Central American States, and he felt the 
need of bringing his cause more closely into the sympathies of a 
large portion of the American people. The reestablishment of 

1 MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Despatches, Nica- 
raguan Legation, II. ; War in Nicaragua, 235. 


slavery, therefore, would secure, in addition to the economic ad- 
vantages already enumerated, the political advantage resulting 
from the increasing sympathy and cooperation of the Southern 
States which the decree would invoke. The South was well 
pleased with his advances. The object of the decree, he says, 
was " to bind the Southern States to Nicaragua as if she were one 
of themselves." ^ This binding, however, was not to be effected 
by bringing Nicaragua into the Union; for Walker, as will be 
shown hereafter, did not contemplate annexation to the United 
States. His slave republic in the tropics would have interests in 
many respects identical with those of the slave States of the Amer- 
ican Union and the two regions would therefore be drawn closely 
together into something like an entente cordiale. In the event 
that the Union were dissolved — a matter then freely discussed 
— the entente cordiale might be succeeded by a formal alliance 
with the seceding States. 

Walker intended not only to reestablish slavery, but to revive 
the African slave trade. In fact, from the very nature of things, 
the second step was essential to the achievement of the first. 
Slaves would not be carried to Central America from the Southern 
States, because the demand for negroes in the Lower South was 
already greater than the supply. Negroes, therefore, would have 
to be brought from Africa. Four years later, when Walker wrote 
the history of his career in Nicaragua, he declared that he expected 
but little opposition to his plan of reviving the slave trade from 
either England or France. "The frenzy of the British public 
against the slave trade," he says, "has exhausted itself, and men 
have begun to perceive that they were led into error by the benev- 
olent enthusiasm of parsons who knew more about Greek and 
Hebrew than they did about physiology and political economy, 
and of middle-aged spinsters, smit with the love of general hu- 
manity, though disdaining to fix their affections on any objects 

^ War in Nicaragua, 263. 


less remote than Africa." ^ He knew too that the French Em- 
peror was desirous of increasing the maritime importance of his 
empire, and he dreamed of negotiating a treaty that should lead 
to the employment of French bottoms for bringing "African 
apprentices" to the ports of Nicaragua, "thus furnishing labour 
to the latter republic, and increasing the trade of French ships." ^ 
These dreams bear unmistakable evidence of having been inspired 
by Soule. It must be borne in mind, however, that Walker never 
actually introduced slavery into the country. The decree of 
September 22 was intended only to prepare the way and give 
notice to the Southern States that his sympathies were with them, 
as he and they were contending in a common cause. Before 
planters and their slaves would come to the country it would have 
to be pacified; the other hostile Central American States would 
have to be conquered, or appeased ; and the new regime in Nica- 
ragua would have to secure recognition as the government de facto 
and de jure. Questions of war and diplomacy therefore took prece- 
dence over slavery and other economic problems.^ 

It was of prime importance that Walker should secure the 
recognition of his government by foreign powers, and especially 
by the United States. In the case of the latter country his wishes 
were gratified sooner, perhaps, than he had expected. Shortly 
after the reception of Vijil in Washington Mr. Marcy ordered 
Wheeler to establish diplomatic relations with the Nicaraguan 
government.'' While these instructions were on their way the 
government changed hands, and the situation when Wheeler 
received the communication was entirely different from that con- 
templated by Marcy when he issued it. This would have caused 

1 War in Nicaragua, 270. « Ibid., 269. 

• Mont6far, whose work embodies the enlightened Central American opinion of 
Walker, attributes his plan of confiscation, contract labour, and slavery, to American 
race prejudice ; Americans were accustomed to white domination at home and were 
resolved to extend it to Nicaragua. Walker en Centro-AmSrica, 597-600. 

* MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, American States, 
Instructions to Ministers, XV., 264-5. 


any minister possessing ordinary discretion to wait until his gov- 
ernment could be acquainted with the new conditions, but Wheeler 
was too warm a friend of Walker's to let such an opportunity 
slip. Walker and Wheeler had been neighbours in Granada, and 
for a long time they had paid each other daily visits, though 
diplomatic relations between the United States and Nicaragua 
at the time were suspended.^ In this matter the American min- 
ister showed weakness and allowed Walker to use him as a tool 
to give dignity to his venture. Wheeler now loosely interpreted 
his instructions from Marcy as an order to recognize Walker as 
president, and on July 17, just five days after the latter's in- 
auguration, Wheeler notified him that Marcy had authorized the 
recognition of "the existing government in Nicaragua." The 
19th was selected as the day for Wheeler's formal reception by 
the new president, and no pains were spared to make the ceremo- 
nies impressive. Ferrer, the secretary of state, accompanied by 
a band of music and a company of soldiers, proceeded to Wheeler's 
residence and escorted him through the streets to the executive 
headquarters. Arriving there, Wheeler delivered a platitudinous 
oration, but in one particular he broke over the bounds of diplo- 
matic propriety by declaring that " the government of the United 
States hopes to unite cordially with you in the fixed purpose of 
preventing any foreign power that may attempt to impede its 
(Nicaragua's) progress by any interference whatever. The great 
voice of the nation has spoken. Its words must not be unheeded." ^ 
Walker had to choose a new minister to the United States to 
take the place left vacant by the return of Father Vijil. His 
choice for the place was Appleton Oaksmith, an American who 
had been in the country only about three weeks. He had come 
down on the same steamer on which Father Vijil had made his 
return trip, and went back on the steamer that followed, having 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, p. 224. 

» El Nicaraguense, July 26, 1856 ; Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, p. 131. 


been in Granada itself a little less than a fortnight. There was a 
reason why he should have been honoured so signally by Walker 
on such a short acquaintance. He had cooperated with Goi- 
couria in securing aid late in 1855 and early in 1856, and among 
other things had been the moving spirit in promoting the big 
Walker meeting in New York City on May 23, which has al- 
ready been described. He was reputed to have wealth and influ- 
ence, and it was thought that he could assist in raising a loan 
for the new government, this being before the arrangements made 
between W^alker and Soule. Oaksmith was a native of Portland, 
Maine, had visited Nicaragua in 1850, before the Transit was 
opened, and had travelled extensively in Central and South 
America and in Africa and the Orient. On August 15 
Oaksmith notified Marcy of his arrival in Washington and pre- 
sented his credentials from President Walker. ^ Marcy notified 
him, four weeks later, that owing to the condition of political 
affairs in Nicaragua the President could not receive him. Oak- 
smith on September 18 asked for explicit reasons why he was 
rejected, and was told that if the President deemed it proper to 
give explanations they would be made only to the government 
which had asked to have him received.^ As no explanation could 
be made to a government which the administration had refused 
to recognize, the matter was closed. 

It will be recalled that Rivas, after declaring Walker deposed 
from command, had revoked the power of Father Vijil as minister 
to the United States and designated Antonio Jose de Irisarri 
as the representative of his government. Irisarri was already 
accredited as the minister from Guatemala and San Salvador, but 

1 Walker's letter to Pierce accrediting Oaksmith was filled with pious phrase- 
ology : *' God grant a continuance of a happy harmony between two sister republics 
linked in the same continental cause. God preserve you, many years for the happi- 
ness of your citizens." MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, 
Notes, Central American Legations, II. 

' MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Diplomatic Corre- 
spondence, Nicaragua, I., 116-7. 


Pierce refused to receive him in the additional capacity of rep- 
resentative of Nicaragua. It was uncertain, Marcy informed him 
on October 28, which party actually possessed civil authority 
in Nicaragua, or whether either of them was entitled to recog- 
nition as the de facto government. Recognition would involve 
a decision as to the merits of the controversy between Rivas and 
Walker, and this the President did not feel prepared to make.^ 
While the Rivas government could make no formal representa- 
tions to the American government, it published at Leon a protest 
against Wheeler's recognition of Walker as president and de- 
manded that the American minister be recalled. ^ 

Marcy was sorely vexed when he learned that Wheeler had in- 
terpreted his instructions to recognize the existing government as 
an authorization to establish diplomatic relations with Walker, 
and on September 18 he ordered Wheeler to come home, stating 
that there was no need of a minister in a country while official 
relations with it were suspended. Wheeler reached Washington 
in November and had a long conversation with the Secretary of 
State, who expressed emphatic disapproval of the minister's 
conduct during the preceding twelve months. Wheeler's visit 
to Corral in October, 1855, as an emissary of Walker, his recog- 
nition of the Rivas- Walker government in the same month without 
instructions from the State Department, and his subsequent 
recognition of Walker as president had practically fixed his fate 
with Marcy. But even while the letter calling the minister 
home was en route to Granada there came a despatch from Wheeler 
announcing Walker's decree with regard to slavery and highly 
commending it. This proved the proverbial straw that broke 
the back of the camel, and Marcy ended the conference by ex- 
pressing his displeasure at this despatch and asking Wheeler to 

» MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Diplomatic Corre- 
spondence, Central America, I., 119. 
» New York Hercdd, Dec. 1, 1866. 


resign. This request was several times repeated, but Wheeler 
did not submit his resignation until March 2, 1857.^ This was 
just two days before Marcy retired with the rest of the Pierce 

On the same steamer that conveyed Wheeler back to the United 
States was the faithful Fermin Ferrer, designated as the new 
minister of W^alker to the United States to succeed Oaksmith. 
The obstinate resistance of Marcy to further relations with the 
new regime was now so apparent that the friends of Walker ad- 
vised against the risk of another rebuff, which was bound to 
strengthen the opposition to his cause in Central America, 
and Ferrer never presented his credentials. The departure 
of Wheeler and Ferrer to the United States and of Vijil to 
New Granada, all in the same month, was a serious loss to 

Walker made another diplomatic venture on August 12 in the 
appointment of Domingo de Goicouria as minister to the Court 
of St. James. The minister designate, however, had proceeded 
no farther than New York before he quarrelled with his chief 
and severed his relations with the Nicaraguan government. The 
events leading up to this quarrel and the outcome form an in- 
teresting and important part of Walker's history. Goicouria 
was the son of a well-to-do Cuban merchant, and had lived in 
England during his early manhood as agent of his father's busi- 
ness. Here he imbibed liberal sympathies, which caused him to 
be deported to Spain by the captain-general of Cuba. Shortly 
thereafter he came to the United States, and resided for a time 
in Mississippi, where he worked with Lopez in planning the lib- 
eration of his native land. Lopez made his invasion of Cuba 
against Goicouria's advice, and the disastrous outcome revealed 
the soundness of the latter's judgment. In 1853 Goicouria be- 

1 MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Nicaragua Lega- 
tion, II. ; American States, Instructions to Ministers, XV., 264^6, 279-82. 


came associated with General John A. Quitman in a new expedi- 
tion planned on a much larger scale, but destined to be still- 
born. At the time of Walker's invasion of Nicaragua Goicouria 
was in New York, where he lived in handsome style, and with his 
amiable, conciliatory manners and plain common sense he won a 
large number of friends. He was then fifty-six years old and 
wore a long, flowing grey beard, which he is said to have vowed 
never to shave until his native country was freed from the Span- 
ish yoke. He did not desire that Cuba should follow the example 
of the Central American States, but thought that its best interests 
lay in annexation to the American Union. 

Walker's enterprise in Nicaragua especially interested the 
Cuban patriot, because it seemed to offer an opportunity to invade 
Cuba from a better vantage point than could be secured in the 
United States. If the Cuban volunteers could be transported to 
Nicaragua in the guise of regular passengers on the steamers of the 
Transit Company, they could be mustered there for an invasion 
of the island without the interference of that bugbear of all fili- 
busters, the American neutrality laws. 

Accordingly, in December, 1855, Goicouria sent an agent to 
Walker in the person of Captain Francisco Alejandro Laine, who 
had himself achieved considerable note as a Cuban "liberator." 
The filibuster chief listened gladly to Laine's proposals, and on 
January 11, 1855, he entered into a written agreement with him 
by which Walker and Goicouria were to pool interests. The 
articles of agreement stipulated that the Cuban revolutionists 
should amalgamate their material resources with those of Walker 
and aid him in "consolidating the peace and the government of 
the Republic of Nicaragua." After this was accomplished. Walker 
was to " assist and cooperate with his person and with his various 
resources, such as men and others, in the cause of Cuba and in 
favour of her liberty." ^ Goicouria approved the contract and 

1 Montdfar, 208-9. 


prepared at once to go to Nicaragua. He secured two hundred 
and fifty recruits, mostly foreigners, for Walker's service; and 
the American financier, Cornelius Vanderbilt, who had recently 
become president of the Transit Company, agreed to advance 
the cost of their passage.^ 

It was one of the strange ironies of fate that Vanderbilt au- 
thorized Goicouria to draw on him for the transportation of these 
men just at the time that Walker decided to expel the Vanderbilt 
interests from Central America. The steamer bearing these 
recruits and the steamer bringing the news of the revocation of 
the Transit Company's charter passed each other en route. Goi- 
couria and his men reached Granada on March 9, 1856, and it was 
with amazement that the Cuban patriot then learned that the 
filibuster commander had bearded Vanderbilt, a man of terrible 
vindictiveness and with millions to spend in gratifying his passion 
for revenge. Goicouria felt that Walker had not only killed the 
goose that laid the golden egg, but had done even worse by cre- 
ating a powerful enemy in the person of the owner of the fowl. 
He remained true to his promise, however, and during the coming 
weeks gave faithful service in the war with Costa Rica, being 
commisssioned as a brigadier-general. About fifty other Cuban 
revolutionists joined Walker's army, and the commander made 
of them a guard of honour. Laine became one of Walker's aides- 
de-camp, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.^ 

On June 21 Goicouria left Granada for the United States pre- 
paratory to going to England, but with instructions first to use 
his influence in negotiating a loan in the States. He landed at 
New Orleans on July 13, but seeing no prospects there for the 
sale of bonds, he delegated the work to two agents and proceeded 
to New York, where he hoped to find a better market for the 
Nicaraguan securities. During all this time Goicouria had re- 
ceived no inkling of Walker's final purposes, and before leaving 

1 Walker, War in Nicaragua, 156, 179. » Ibid., 190-1. 



New Orleans he wrote to his chief asking for information concern- 
ing the form of government that would eventually be established 
in Nicaragua, so that he, as Walker's minister, could give proper 
assurances to the European governments. In doing this he vio- 
lated none of the oflBcial proprieties, but he made the fatal blunder 
of going farther and giving the filibuster leader some unsought 
advice as to the form of government that should be inaugurated. 
He did even more, and criticised the Transit deal with Morgan 
and Garrison, alleging that they should not receive a monopoly 
of traffic on the San Juan River and Lake Nicaragua, as this 
violated the principles of free commerce. He suggested that the 
grantees should receive only the privileges of handling the trans- 
isthmian traffic, for which they should pay in accordance with the 
passengers and tonnage conveyed, and that the revenues of the 
government from this source should be pledged as security for 
the contemplated loan. 

On reaching New York and consulting with capitalists there, 
Goicouria became fully convinced that the loan could not be 
negotiated so long as Walker had to reckon with 
an enemy. Financiers declared that investments in enterprises 
which he was antagonizing were extra-hazardous. The final 
arrangements with Morgan and Garrison for inaugurating their 
new transportation service between the Atlantic and Pacific ports 
by way of Nicaragua had not yet been completed, and Randolph 
was still in New York in consultation with them over the details 
of the contract when Goicouria arrived. It was commonly re- 
ported that Randolph was to be paid handsomely for his part in 
the deal, and the Cuban idealist was surprised and pained that 
anyone should use his friendship with Walker for the purpose of 
making money. He notified Walker that the new grantees could 
never, from their limited resources, carry out the agreement in 
any way advantageous to the cause, and he even went to the 
point of consulting his old patron Vanderbilt to learn whether he 


were not willing to reestablish his ships in the Nicaraguan service 
if his former privileges were restored. 

Vanderbilt proved amenable, and offered to advance one hun- 
dred thousand dollars the day his first ship should sail for Nica- 
ragua, and to pay a hundred and fifty thousand more during 
the course of the year. Goicouria was enthusiastic. Here was 
the chance to secure the funds so greatly needed by the filibuster 
regime, and at the same time to obtain an adequate transporta- 
tion service and to convert a dreaded enemy into a friend and 
patron. For all his labour and pains in this matter, however, 
the Cuban did not get so much as a "thank you" from his chief. 
Walker's reply to his proposals was frigid : "You will please not 
trouble yourself further about the Transit Company. As to any- 
thing you say about Mr. Randolph, it is entirely thrown away on 
me. ... As the government has given you no powers, you can- 
not of course promise anything in its behalf."^ 

The filibuster leader thus threw away his last chance to make 
friends with Vanderbilt and redeem the greatest blunder of his 
career. Goicouria was old enough to be Walker's father, and had 
had much greater practical experience in both filibustering and 
business. Walker could ill afford to ignore his advice, and his 
rebuff to his envoy had the effect of still further embittering 
Vanderbilt, who might otherwise have championed his cause. 
The only commendable feature of this act is Walker's loyalty to 
his friend Randolph. 

The censorious note from his chief caused Goicouria no little 
chagrin, and shook his confidence in the sagacity of the filibuster. 
Just at this time Walker's new minister to the United States, 
Appleton Oaksmith, presented his credentials to Secretary Marcy, 
who, as previously stated, declined to receive him, as the stability 
of Walker's government then seemed questionable.^ Goicouria 

1 New York HeraU, Nov. 29, 1856. 

2 MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Nicaragua, Diplo- 
matic Correspondence, I., 116-7 ; Central America Legations, Notes to Dept., II. 


thought it useless to expect recognition from the hostile British 
government when the more friendly American government de- 
clined to receive a Nicaraguan minister, and therefore notified 
Walker that he should postpone going to England until some 
notable success had been achieved in Nicaragua against the 
coalition of Central American States which had just declared war 
on the filibuster govenunent. Walker, with the manner of a 
martinet, always demanded blind obedience to his orders, and was 
seldom open to suggestions from any one. To him Goicouria's 
attitude was little less than lese majesty, and he notified the 
latter that if he would not go on his mission, some one else would 
be sent in his place. ^ 

Certain stories had already been circulating at filibuster head- 
quarters to the effect that the Cuban was an agent in the hire of 
Vanderbilt. Walker attached no credit to them at the time, but 
Goicouria's avowed championship of Vanderbilt's schemes now 
caused him to grow exceedingly suspicious, and he communicated 
these suspicions to his minister in a very blunt manner. The 
accusation drew from the Cuban an angry protest. His sole 
object in seeking to reestablish relations with the Vanderbilt 
company, he said, was to raise "abundant pecuniary supplies, so 
as to enable you to meet your immediate necessities and sustain 
an American immigration, and also to put a stop to a powerful op- 
position which already has caused you much difficulty and even 
loss of reputation." The envoy declared that everything that he 
had done had been met with reproach and recrimination, and that 
he had been addressed uncourteously and in a style of authority, 
whereas he regarded himself as a man of independent character. 
Moreover, the news of Walker's slavery decree, which had just 
arrived, compelled him to persevere in his determination not to 
go to London ; for England would never look with favour upon 
such a retrograde step. "You have shut your eyes to the truth," 

1 New York Herald, Nov. 29, 1866. 


declared the angry Cuban, "whether it is that you look upon your- 
self as divinely infallible, and are determined to pursue your 
course at all hazards, or whether it is that a third party has filled 
your mind with false suggestions, ... I cannot now in any way 
continue my connection with you." 

This quarrel between the filibuster chief and his erstwhile ally 
was of course unknown to the general public, and the first inkling 
of trouble appeared in Walker's newspaper. El Nicaraguense, which 
contained a brief statement that Brigadier-General Goicouria had 
been dropped from the roll of the Nicaraguan army. In the 
United States, where interest in the Nicaraguan situation was now 
very keen, this news evoked much comment and speculation in 
the newspapers as to the causes of this breach between Walker 
and his strongest supporter. Goicouria satisfied the public curi- 
osity by publishing a portion of his correspondence with Walker, 
the substance of which has been given in the preceding paragraphs. 
Friends of Walker now came to his defence and accused Goicouria 
of being an agent in the employ of Vanderbilt and of seeking to 
compass Walker's destruction.^ Randolph published a card in 
which he said, "In the Transit business Don Domingo de Goi- 
couria is an intruder, with a dishonest and treacherous intent, 
and knowing the import of the language I use, I shall remain at 
the Washington Hotel, No. 1 Broadway, until one o'clock to- 
morrow, and longer if it is the pleasure of Don Domingo de Goi- 
couria." ^ As Randolph was then confined to his bed from an 
illness he had contracted during his visit to Nicaragua, there 
was of course no duel. 

The Cuban, however, had shrewdly withheld his most impor- 
tant letters to and from Walker until the latter's defenders had 
exhausted their ammunition in repelling his first attack. He 

1 Nicaraguan filibusters and Cuban revolutionists aired their grievances and 
washed their dirty linen in the New York newspapers during the latter half of 
November, 1856. The Herald gives the most attention to thig controversy. 

2 New York Herald, Nov. 22, 1856. 


now published further correspondence that was calculated se- 
riously to embarrass large numbers of Walker's friends in the 
United States. On August 12, 1856, Walker had instructed his 
envoy as to the policy he should pursue while minister to Great 
Britain: "With your versatility, and if I may use the term, 
adaptability, I expect much to be done in England. You can do 
more than any American could possibly accomplish, because you 
can make the British cabinet see that we are not engaged in any 
scheme for annexation. You can make them see that the only 
way to cut the expanding and expansive democracy of the North 
is by a powerful and compact Southern federation, based on 
military principles." ^ This was a heavy blow to the devotees of 
"manifest destiny," who had been expecting some day to shake 
the hand of William Walker as Senator from Nicaragua. But 
this letter of Walker contained another hard jolt for the ardent 

expansionists: "Tell he must send me the news and 

let me know whether Cuba must and shall be free, but not for the 
Yankees. Oh, no ! that fine country is not fit for those barbarous 
Yankees. What would such a psalm-singing set do in the island ? " * 
One may imagine the shock which these words gave to Goi- 
couria. During the past six months he had regarded his time, 
means, and energy as expended in an effort eventually to bring 
Cuba into the American Union, and now he was informed that 
this fine island was not to be for the Yankees ! On the contrary, 
he was labouring for "a powerful and compact federation, based 
on military principles." Such language did not augur well for 
Cuba's real freedom, and it is not surprising that Goicouria sev- 
ered his connection with Walker in much disgust.' 

» New York Herald, Nov. 24, 1856 ; New York Sun, Nov. 24, 1856. 

• Ibid. Italics are mine. 

» In his final communication on this subject Goicouria utterly repudiated Walker 
with these words : "I therefore denounce Mr. Walker as a man wanting in the first 
element of every kind of ability, namely, good faith, I denounce him as wanting in 
ordinary sagacity aad discretion. I denounce him as false to the interests as weU 
of Cuba as of the United States." 


x\mericans, and especially those in the North, read Walker's 
letter concerning Cuba with amazement. They got here a first 
glimpse of his real plans. Instead of introducing American prin- 
ciples and institutions into the country, he really designed to set 
up a military despotism entirely at variance with the democracy 
of the United States and a barrier to its further expansion south- 
ward. Hitherto Walker's Northern friends had had visions of 
Nicaragua's becoming a prosperous State, offering a new market 
for their manufactures and an inviting field for their capital ; 
and they had looked upon events in that country as the beginning 
of a movement that eventually would open the entire isthmus to 
American trade and industrial enterprise, and perhaps would 
bring this region into the Union. The decree of September 22, 
1856, revoking the laws against slavery, had by no means alienated 
all of Walker's Northern supporters, because such a measure had 
been taken for granted. In the United States there were few at 
this time who regarded the tropics as an inviting field for free 
labour, and many anti-slavery leaders oppposed the Walker en- 
terprise because they deemed the expansion of the domain of 
slavery an inevitable result of its success. Slavery, many North- 
erners believed, would follow the American invasion of Nicaragua 
as naturally as would the English language. But Walker's plan 
to build up a great State that would be a rival of their own coun- 
try, with aims and institutions diametrically opposed to theirs, 
gave his Northern friends pause and soon destroyed all their 
sympathies with his undertaking. 

That the revelation of the filibuster's real motives did not also 
alienate his Southern supporters is to be explained by the fact 
that the publication of the Goicouria correspondence followed close 
on the heels of the decree opening the way for the reestablishment 
of slavery. The South was then entering upon the final scene in 
its long struggle to preserve "the equilibrium of the Union," and 
was coming to see that it was conducting a losing fight. Southern 


leaders were beginning to perceive that the existing Territories 
were most probably destined to become free States, and that the 
balance of power between the South and the constantly growing 
North was soon to be destroyed. Those with clear vision fore- 
saw "the irrepressible conflict/' and believed that some day the 
Southern States would be constrained to leave the Union, and 
that they might possibly form an alliance with the Spanish-Amer- 
ican countries to the southward to check possible aggression from 
the republic of the North. They cared little, therefore, about 
Walker's repudiation of annexation to a Union that they believed 
to be short-lived ; but they were intensely interested in his plan 
to create a new slave republic. In the event of secession, a power- 
ful military federation in Central America, with slavery as its 
cornerstone, would prove a most valuable ally. No man in the 
South held more advanced ideas along this line than Pierre Soule, 
and his visit to Nicaragua in August seems to have had the effect 
of crystallizing the policy of Walker, so far as Cuba, annexation, 
and slavery were concerned.^ 

The slight extent to which Walker confided in others as to his 
real motives is aptly illustrated by the conduct of his officers at 
a birthday party given August 15, 1856, in honour of Colonel 
Frank Anderson, one of the "fifty-six" and one of Walker's most 
trusted officers. The toasts proposed indicate their opinion of 
Walker's purposes : " To General Walker. May he live to see 
Nicaragua annexed to the United States. " " The American Eagle. 
May she drop her feathers on Nicaragua." This was only three 
days after their leader had written to Goicouria repudiating an- 
nexation. That he took no advice in sending Goicouria on such 
an errand to England is also evident. The London Post, after 
the correspondence had been made public in England, was puz- 
zled that Walker should so misjudge the English as to suppose 
that they would become his partners in further slavery ex- 

' Monttifar. 662. 


tension after they had already expended so many millions to get 
rid of it.^ 

As has been shown in a previous chapter, shortly after Walker's 
arrival in Nicaragua the American press proclaimed that he went 
there in the interests of the Transit Company. Later, when he 
repealed the restrictions against slavery, some journals of the 
United States were equally sure that such an act was the whole 
intent and purpose of his expedition. Yet Walker went to Nic- 
aragua neither as the agent of capitalists nor as the tool of slavery 
propagandists. It is probably his book, The War in Nicaragua, 
written in 1860, when he was preparing to set out on what proved 
to be his last filibustering expedition, that has led many historians 
to regard the establishment of slavery as the chief end of Walker's 
undertaking, rather than a means of attaining another end.^ In 
this book, which appeared on the eve of the Civil War, Walker 
poses as a would-be saviour of the South. If he succeeded in his 
proposed effort to regain his place in Central America, it would be 
with Southern support alone. His strong pro-slavery attitude in 
one chapter of his book has caused him to be depicted as an almost 
fanatical apostle of slavery propagandism, the very antithesis of 
John Brown, the apostle of abolition. As a matter of fact. Walker 
entertained no very strong views on the slavery question. His pro- 
slavery arguments in his work reveal no real conviction on the part 
of their author. They are merely a strong bid for Southern support 
in his newest scheme. At the end of the chapter the reader feels 
inclined to exclaim that the writer "doth protest too much." 
Walker was not descended from a slave-holding ancestry ; his edi- 
torial work in New Orleans showed him to be conservative on 
the slavery question ; in California he supported Broderick, who 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 180. 

2 Professor L. M. Keasbey, in his Nicaragua Canal and the Monroe Doctrine, 246 
(New York, 1896), says, after describing the final collapse of Walker's enterprise, 
"the slavery question was at the bottom of it all !" This is an illustration of the 
mistaking of a means for an end. 


was no friend of the institution, against Gwin, the champion of 
Southern interests. He even admits in his work that when he 
pubUshed his slavery decree he was unaware of the strong feehng 
against slavery that had slowly crystallized in the North. He 
had left the Atlantic States six years previously, and during this 
time anti-slavery views had come to be taught in Northern schools 
and preached from Northern pulpits without his knowledge. Even 
had he known this, he says, his conduct would have been the same, 
as he issued the decree from a sense of sacred duty. His con- 
fession of ignorance of the increasing anti-slavery sentiment is 
interesting, indicating that he had given very little attention to 
the slavery question in the United States, at least in the years since 
1850, and tending to bear out the preceding statement that 
Walker was no true apostle of slavery extension. 

It is important to note in this connection that a large part of 
the filibuster's following came from the free States, and thence 
came also many of his most trusted officers. Byron Cole, the 
immediate promoter of the expedition, was a New Englander. 
So were Joseph W. Fabens and Appleton Oaksmith, colonizing 
and diplomatic agents respectively. Colonel Frank Anderson and 
Captains O'Keefe, McArdle, DeWitt Clinton, and Williamson 
were from New York. James C. Jamison, one of Walker's lieu- 
tenants, states that he conversed freely of conditions in Nica- 
ragua and of the plans and ambitions of the leaders with such 
men as Generals Fry, Sanders, Henningsen, Hornsby, and others, 
and never heard it intimated at any time that slavery was a cause 
of Walker's going to that country.^ 

What, then, were Walker's real motives? Briefly, he planned 
to create out of five Central American republics a strong feder- 
ated State organized and governed on military principles; and 
after achieving this he aimed to effect the conquest of Cuba. 
To aid in the work of conquest and in the subsequent "regener- 

» Jamison, With Walker in Nicaragua, 9d-102. 


ation" of the isthmus and island, he purposed to introduce an 
American population and to secure to it the possession of the 
land. Next he proposed to afford the new masters of the soil the 
privilege of cultivating their lands by slave labour if they so 
desired. He was doubtful indeed whether any other form of labour 
were adaptable to the tropics, and was of course not unmindful 
of the sympathy which his slavery policy would evoke for his cause 
in the Southern States. Finally, as the capstone of his system, 
he planned to make the dream of an interoceanic canal come true, 
and thus to bind his new government to the powerful maritime 
nations of the world by the strong ties of commerce. It should 
be added that over this tropical federation Walker himself proposed 
to play the role of dictator. What we have seen him doing so far 
he regarded as only preparatory to entering upon his really con- 
structive work. 


The Filibuster Army and Navy 

Walker's loss of Goicouria, Ferrer, Vijil, and Wheeler was 
somewhat offset by the arrival in October of Charles Frederick 
Henningsen with arms and munitions of war. The coming of this 
famous soldier to Nicaragua infused new life into the filibuster 
cause. He was made brigadier-general in place of Goicouria and 
was assigned to the special duty of organizing the artillery and 
instructing the men in the use of the Minie rifle. Henningsen was 
a soldier of world renown. Born in England of Swedish parents, 
he enlisted at seventeen to serve Don Carlos in Navarre and the 
Basque provinces under the partizan leader, Zumalacarregui. He 
attained the rank of colonel while still in his teens and soon 
attracted attention as a writer on military subjects by his History 
of the War in Spain. After being wounded and captured, he was 
paroled on condition of not serving again during the war, and then 
entered the Russian army and saw service in Circassia. His 
report on the Caucasian countries was published by the Russian 
government. He next repaired to Hungary, only to find the cause 
of independence lost, and he followed Kossuth to America. He had 
charge of the first Minie rifles ever constructed in the United States. 
Literature had also occupied his attention during this period, and 
he published volumes of personal recollections and on Russian life, 
and even essayed the role of a novelist. All his serious works still 
have substantial value. 

When he came to America Henningsen was still a young man, 
and proved susceptible to the charms of a Georgia widow whom he 



met in Washington. She was a woman of means, and her husband 
might now have beaten his sword into a ploughshare and settled 
down to a life of leisure on a Southern plantation. But news from 
Nicaragua aroused his interest. Like the warhorse of old, he 
sniffed the battle from afar, whence ensued much tugging at the 
domestic halter. Walker's friends urged him to go, but it did not 
require much persuasion. Henningsen and his wife were residing 
at the time in New York and were close friends of the noted capitalist 
and steamship magnate, George Law. The latter had purchased 
several thousand United States army muskets, and is said to have 
offered them to Kossuth. He had caused a large number of these 
to be converted into Minie rifles, under Henningsen's direction, and 
when Henningsen decided to go to Nicaragua Law equipped him 
liberally with rifles, howitzers, and ammunition, and this donation 
was supplemented by a contribution from Mrs. Henningsen, so that 
the full value of equipment was estimated at thirty thousand 

The entrance of George Law into the field as another capitalistic 
promoter of filibustering brings up anew the vexing problem of 
control of the Transit. Law had a live interest in everything con- 
cerning steamships. He had established the first line between New 
York and Chagres, and for a time had managed a line also between 
Panama and San Francisco, being a keen competitor of the Pacific 
Mail Company. He finally bought his competitor's business in 
the Atlantic and sold to his rival his business in the Pacific. He 
took an active part in promoting the construction of the Panama 
railway and also inaugurated a line of steamers between New York 
and Havana. These facts will explain Law's interest in the events 
then taking place in Central America. He had watched the quar- 
rel between Vanderbilt and Morgan in New York, and was expecting 
them to neutralize each other's efforts to control the Nicaraguan 
Transit. He hoped in the meantime to gain Walker's favour by 

1 Harper's Weekly, I., 332, 333 ; New York Herald, June 2, 1856. 


sending him liberal contributions of munitions of war, and when 
Vanderbilt's opposition had paralyzed Morgan's further efforts 
in Walker's behalf, Law would ask for a grant of the Transit 
privileges and would have his right-hand man Henningsen there to 
intercede in his behalf. Goicouria, on returning to New York, 
was said to have approached Law and asked for a cargo of his guns 
for the Nicaraguan service, and his request was about to be granted 
when Law discovered that the Cuban was also playing some sort of 
a game with Vanderbilt and dropped him.^ This three-cornered 
rivalry for control of the Transit was jocularly referred to by the 
press as " the war of the commodores," and it was indeed a fortunate 
thing for Walker that a third party entered into the contest, for it 
became the means of his developing an arm of his service which 
had hitherto been neglected — the artillery. 

Henningsen shortly after his arrival organized two companies 
of artillery and a company of sappers and miners. Several of the 
artillery officers took great professional pride in their work and 
developed much skill with the mortars and howitzers. Henningsen 
also prepared detailed instructions for the use of the new Minie 
rifles which he had brought with him from New York, but he had 
much to contend with in the languor and indifference of the officers, 
many of whom were jealous of his sudden promotion.^ His real 
worth, however, soon became so apparent that most of the jealous 
ones became reconciled, though a few never recovered from their 

While Walker had some serious defects as a commander, the 
fact that he could keep his men faithful without other pay than the 
bare means of subsistence and prevent serious murmuring during 
months of enforced idleness is ample proof that he possessed some 
sort of military ability. He relied almost wholly upon himself, 
rarely seeking advice, and was constantly engaged from six o'clock 
in the morning till ten o'clock at night. His only relaxation while 

» New York Herald, Nov. 2&-29, 1856. » Walker. War in Nicaragua, 301-2. 


in Granada was a horseback ride in the afternoon, with an orderly 
always following him. All his men yielded ready obedience, and 
while they complained at times of his utter indifference to human 
suffering, they felt that there was no one else to take his place and 
conceded to him absolute authority. In March, 1856, when the 
Costa Ricans were advancing to the frontier. Walker, it will be 
remembered, lay ill for several days, and his sickness impressed 
the men, as nothing else could have done, that his life was indis- 
pensable to the cause. After his recovery there was great rejoicing, 
and the leader was more appreciated than before. 

Throughout the many vicissitudes of his career Walker always 
remained quiet and imperturbable. Success never turned his head ; 
failure never caused him to despair. He was as calm under fire 
as ever he was in the sanctum of the editor or the office of the 
advocate. His manner was always characterized by extreme 
simplicity. His usual garb was a blue frock coat, dark trousers, 
and a slouch hat ; and on going into action the coat would generally 
give way to a flannel shirt. His unimpressive physique was a 
constant source of surprise to visitors who had heard of his achieve- 
ments but had never before seen the man, and some amusing 
blunders are recorded of strangers who were expecting to meet an 
entirely different sort of personage and addressed the general in a 
condescending tone, deeming him some underling in Walker's 
service. In spite of his lack of affectation Walker was a great 
stickler for the dignity of his office, and allowed no one to offer 
suggestions until his opinion was asked. ^ His sharp retort to 
Doubleday, who had lived in Nicaragua for some time before the 
filibusters came and had a thorough understanding of the native 

1 "Instead of treating us like fellow-soldiers and adventurers in danger," wrote a 
deserter under the pen-name of Samuel Absalom, ". . . he bore himself like an 
Eastern tyrant, — reserved and haughty, — scarcely saluting when he met us, 
mixing not at all, but keeping himself close in his quarters, — some said through 
fear, lest some of his own men should shoot him, of which indeed there was great 
danger to such a man." Atlantic Monthly, IV., 665. 


character, and who therefore presumed to offer unsought advice, 
caused this officer to leave the service and return to the United 
States. This attitude of the leader, however, is not to be attributed 
entirely to his being self-opinionated. Most of his oflBcers were 
young — the average age perhaps not exceeding twenty-five — and 
the fact that they had come to Nicaragua was evidence in itself 
that they were impetuous, adventurous, and not oversupplied 
with discretion. Walker was now in his thirty-third year, and was 
one of the oldest officers in the service. 

There are many stories of Walker's cruelty to his men, but with 
very few exceptions they emanated from foreigners and deserters. 
The story most widely circulated was the so-called " Address of the 
Seven Prisoners," purporting to have been issued May 21, 1856, 
by seven of his soldiers captured by the Costa Ricans at Santa 
Rosa. Three of the signers were Germans, one an Englishman, 
and the other three Americans. One of the Americans was a 
drummer boy, who later denied any connection with the address, 
which he said was brought to him by a deserter, and declared that 
his name had been attached after he had refused to sign it. The 
address was written by some one skilled in the use of English, 
expert in forming vindictive phrases, and withal thoroughly familiar 
with every detail of Walker's career in Nicaragua and with political 
conditions there and at home. No drummer boy or foreigner, or 
even a highly intelligent American citizen who had just arrived 
in the country, could possibly have drafted such a voluminous 
indictment of the filibuster enterprise. The internal evidence 
against its authenticity is overwhelming.^ There is one accusation, 

* In the address the prisoners are made to declare that as Costa Rican captives 
they were freer than they had ever been under Walker ; that a strict censorship was 
maintained over all news and that only laudatory statements were allowed to go out 
of the country. They declared that Walker was no general, statesman, or judge of 
human nature, but only a most indifferent imitator of Don Quixote. They then 
proceed to point out seven colossal blunders in support of their assertions: (1) 
Walker's going to Nicaragua without map, guide, or means of subsistence, and with 
only fifty-six men ; (2) his attempt to amalgamate the two factions ; (3) then his 


however, of which the filibuster leader must stand condemned. 
He compelled many who had gone to Nicaragua at their own 
expense to take their places in his ranks and serve his government, 
whether they had intended to enlist or not.^ Others whose term of 
enlistment had expired were refused passports home, and compelled 
to continue in the army or starve.^ Still others, attracted by the 
glowing descriptions of the country published in the United States, 
migrated thither with the intention of taking up lands and settling 
as peaceful colonists. Some of these even carried their families 
with them. On reaching their destination they were told that they 
must first serve for a year in the army.^ 

The lack of consideration which characterized Walker's treat- 
ment of the natives characterized also his treatment of his own men. 
The latter did not dispute his authority, and they had no idea of 
rebelling against the man who was their only hope. But he 
inspired in them none of the self-sacrificing devotion that character- 
izes the soldiers of a really great leader. There were some, it is 
true, who stood by him through nearly all his career, but they were 
men who enjoyed a life of danger and hardship. It must be remem- 
bered, when all is said concerning the tyranny and harshness of the 
commander, that he was on no holiday outing, but was engaged in 
a life-and-death struggle against fearful odds ; and that his only 
reliance was in a heterogeneous group of adventurers, many of 
whom were desperate characters. To have sought to control such 
men by kindness and moral suasion would have been worse than 
folly ; and it is much to the credit of the quiet little man that he 

execution of Corral ; (4) his sending of French to the United States as minister ; 
(5) his seizure of the Transit Company's property ; (6) his putting Schlessinger in 
command of the expedition into Costa Rica ; (7) his trying to recapture Rivas on 
April 11 without supplying the soldiers with sufficient ammunition. The address 
in parts is very abusive. Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 149. See also New York 
Herald, Aug. 17, and other papers of this date. 

1 Such was the experience of General John T. McGrath, of Baton Rouge, La., 
as he related it to the writer. See also Boston Daily Advertiser, April 30, 1857 ; 
Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, p. 224. 

* Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 222. 3 Ibid., 224. 


could perceive and utilize the only practicable method of discipline, 
the iron hand. He won no man's affection, but every man's respect. 
Perhaps if the Americans had been more successful, Walker's 
men would have shown less inclination to submit to his exacting 
discipline. Much of their energy vanished under the enervating 
effects of the climate ; much of what remained was expended in 
getting food, avoiding danger, and in drunken carousing. They 
both despised and feared the native, whom they had never really 
conquered, and were thus held together in a common cause. Had 
they gained the natives' friendship, mastered their language, 
obtained ample provisions, and made themselves secure in their 
position. Walker would have found it exceedingly difficult to main- 
tain his absolute authority. 

Climate, disease, and debauchery were the Americans' worst 
enemies. The energy of the rank and file varied almost inversely 
with the length of their sojourn in the country. Newly arrived 
recruits were always eager to go into battle, but were handicapped 
by lack of military training. The new arrivals after the end of 
the war with Costa Rica were barely more than sufficient to com- 
pensate for the losses from fevers and cholera, although they came 
by every steamer. 

Throughout the latter half of 1856 the work of recruiting forces 
for Walker in the United States was conducted more openly than 
before, and with very little of the governmental interference which 
had been so evident but so ineffectual at the beginning of the year. 
Although Fermin Ferrer made no effort to secure recognition as 
Walker's minister, he made a colonization contract on Aug. 15, 
1856, with William L. Cazneau, of Texas, for the introduction of 
one thousand able-bodied colonists of good character into Nica- 
ragua within twelve months. The Nicaraguan government, on its 
part, was to establish them in settlements of not less than fifty 
families, and each independent settler was to secure eighty acres 
of land which might be alienated only after a year's residence 


McKeon at New York, when shown the contract, said that he 
could not recognize such colonization as lawful because the govern- 
ment did not acknowledge Ferrer's official capacity.^ The reports 
of impending war with all the Central American States prevented 
any serious attention being paid to a colonizing scheme of this 
nature, and those who joined the enterprise and migrated to 
Nicaragua went mainly in search of adventure. 

Walker himself sent a number of his officers to the United States 
to muster in recruits. S. A. Lockridge had charge of the recruiting 
in Texas and the Middle West ; Walker's brother, Norvell, opened 
a recruiting office in Nashville, and E. J. C. Kewen made his head- 
quarters in Augusta, Georgia, and conducted his work in Alabama, 
Mississippi, and Georgia. Walker is reported to have declared 
that he wanted no more recruits from the purlieus of American 
cities, but preferred more resourceful and self-reliant men coming 
from good pioneer stock. These he could secure from California,, 
Missouri, and the Southwest. Charles Morgan agreed to carry 
Texans free of charge on his steamers from Galveston to New 
Orleans, and from there to Granada their transportation was also 
free. Lockridge widely advertised this in the Texas newspapers. 
In Kansas and Missouri the free trip from New Orleans to Granada 
was also announced in print, and a Colonel H. T. Titus, noted as 
a "Border Ruffian," recruited a company of one hundred of his 
followers, whose services in Kansas were no longer in demand, and 
started in December for New Orleans by way of the Mississippi. 
Kewen also raised a force in his territory of over eight hundred 
men, but these were destined never to leave the country, as the 
news of the downfall of the filibuster regime arrived before they 
were ready to embark.^ 

The New Orleans Picayune of November 26 announced the 
departure of Lockridge with 283 men and gave a list of the com- 

1 New York Herald, Dec. 25, 1856. 

2 Ibid., Oct. 21, Dec. 5, 7, 9, 1856; Jan. 31, 1857. 


panics and their officers, showing that this expedition, contrary to 
the general practice, was organized on a military basis before it 
left the United States. These were the last recruits to reach 
Walker from the Atlantic States. 

In December, as Walker's situation in Nicaragua became desper- 
ate, for reasons to be shown hereafter, his friends in New York 
began to take active measures for his relief. On December 20 
a large Walker meeting was held in the Broadway Tabernacle. 
General Ward B. Burnett, of the New York Volunteers, presided. 
Speeches were made by General Duff Green, Appleton Oaksmith, 
Isaiah Rynders, and other sympathizers. A collection of over 
thirteen hundred dollars was taken. The St. Nicholas Hotel 
offered a hundred barrels of bread and the Metropolitan Hotel five 
thousand pounds of bacon.^ "The gathering," said the Herald, 
"was not only a respectable one as to numbers, but also in the 
character and social position of a large number of the persons 
present." On hearing of this activity the administration notified 
McKeon to prevent the forwarding of supplies to Walker. "We 
don't see what right Pierce, Marcy, or McKeon have to intercept 
bread, bacon, and shoes anywhere," said the same paper. "On 
the bacon point Vattel is expressly clear, and he is quite as good an 
authority as poor Pierce." 

The steamer Tennessee was to sail on the 24th. Boxes of sup- 
plies went to the dock. One was marked : 

To the care of General William Walker. For our old comrades in 
Texas, now in Nicaragua, with the warm sympathy, personal and politi- 
cal, of their former commanders. 

Thomas J. Green 
William L. Cazneau 
And another : 

For my old comrades in the Florida and Mexican Wars. 

Ward B. Burnett.' 

1 Harper's Weekly, I.. 7. « New York Herald, Dec. 23, 1856. 


On the 24th the steamer Tennessee sailed with three hundred 
recruits and two thousand dollars' worth of provisions. The re- 
cruits gathered at the corner of Broadway and Leonard streets 
and marched to the docks on the East River at the foot of Eighth 
Street. The steamer had been advertised to sail from the foot 
of Beach Street, and the crowd, which gathered there, expecting 
governmental interference and some excitement, was much disap- 
pointed. McKeon had two revenue cutters ready for any emer- 
gency, but nothing happened. Morgan had called on him shortly 
before the hour of sailing, and announced that no one would be 
allowed to board the steamer without a ticket. He also promised 
to convey no passengers who had signed Cazneau's colonization 
contract. This seemed to satisfy the government's representative 
and the steamer put to sea. Cazneau a few days later declared 
that McKeon's opposition to his colonizing activities had prevented 
a hundred more passengers from sailing on the Tennessee} Shortly 
after reaching the open sea the steamer met rough weather, and 
during the storm broke her shaft. She managed to put in at Nor- 
folk, where the recruits disbanded, many returning to New York. 
Morgan sent the James Adger at once to Norfolk to take the men 
and cargo of the Tennessee on to Nicaragua. This vessel also 
carried forty more men from New York. The James Adger missed 
the recruits in Norfolk, as they had left before her arrival, but the 
vessel proceeded to Greytown with her forty passengers, among 
whom were Colonel Frank Anderson, who had been home recuperat- 
ing from a wound, and General R. C. Wheat, a boyhood companion 
of Walker and his brothers in Nashville, who had served as military 
governor of Vera Cruz and obtained the rank of brigadier-general 
in the Mexican army. He had resigned his Mexican commission 
to join Walker in Nicaragua. Morgan sent no more steamers from 
New York. 

^ Herald, Dec. 25 and 28, 1856. Cazneau admitted that if his colonists, on 
entering the country, should find Walker in a critical situation, they might strike 
one bold blow for his rescue. 


While these events were taking place in New York similar scenes 
were being enacted in New Orleans. There on December 28 two 
hundred and fifty recruits embarked on the steamer Texas. The 
steamer was detained for some time awaiting the arrival of Titus 
and his "border ruffians" from Kansas, who were coming down 
the Mississippi by boat. Thick fogs detained the Kansan, and 
the Texas sailed without him. Fortunately for history, there 
embarked on this steamer the noted traveller and journalist, 
Laurence Oliphant, and we have from his pen a graphic description 
of the men who went to Nicaragua. After they were on the high 
seas the recruits were divided into five companies. These had 
been enlisted in different States, and the officers received their 
rank according to the number of men they had enlisted. The 
soldiers were to receive a monthly pay of twenty-five dollars in 
Nicaraguan scrip and a grant of land at the end of their enlistment. 
There was nothing, the author tells us, to indicate that the men had 
enlisted from mercenary motives. Some were well-to-do; some 
were running away from troubles at home; some were merely 
soldiers of fortune. The predominating motive seemed to be love 
of excitement and adventure. Almost every nationality was repre- 
sented, and one company was composed entirely of Germans. 
"There were Hungarians who had fought at Segedin ; Italians who 
had fought at Novara; Prussians who had gone through the 
Schleswig-Holstein campaigns; Frenchmen who had fought in 
Algeria; Englishmen who had been in our own artillery in the 
Crimea; Americans who had taken part in both the Cuban 
expeditions; others fresh from Kansas." Some of the officers 
had already seen service in the Nicaraguan army and were return- 
ing from their furloughs. There were a few who had been officers 
in the United States army, " and were as well-informed, gentleman- 
like, and agreeable as the officers in that service usually are." 
Oliphant was especially impressed with the exemplary behaviour 
of the men ; there were no spirituous liquors issued even on New 


Year's day. The men drilled and practised guard-mounting every 
day and seemed to take to the work instinctively. The officer of 
the day wore a sword, but there was otherwise not the semblance 
of a uniform, the costume varying from red flannel shirt and boots 
to seedy and semi-clerical black broadcloth. The faces were not 
ill-favoured, and the Englishman was so well impressed with their 
appearance that he failed to lock the door of his stateroom and 
thereby was divested of some of his loose property.^ 

The strict discipline noted by Oliphant on board the Texas was 
characteristic of the filibuster army. Walker ruled with a rod of 
iron, and had more trouble with his officers than with his men in 
ranks. Many of the former, he says, valued their rank more as 
an excuse for indulging their ease than as an incentive to difficult 
and arduous duty. There was no recognized uniform, but until 
the Americans began to be beset by the Central American alliance 
in the autumn of 1856 they were comfortably provided with food 
and clothing. General John T. McGrath, who served under Walker 
and throughout the Civil War, informed the writer that Walker's 
men were much better provided for than were the soldiers of the 
Confederacy. The nearest approach to a uniform was a costume 
consisting of blue flannel shirt, blue cotton breeches, boots, or 
brogan shoes, and wide-brimmed black felt hat. When the force 
was best equipped the shirts were marked with the number of the 
detachment and the letter of the company. Many of the officers 
wore the uniform of their corresponding rank in the United States 
army, and a few of the more dressy ones aroused much ridicule by 
the way they braved the tropical heat in order to display their 
regimentals. One of the officers, a Colonel W^atson, brought half 
a dozen large trunks from New York filled with such apparel. ^ 

The Americans consumed large quantities of bad liquor, and this 
rendered them more susceptible to cholera and fevers than they 

1 Laurence Oliphant, Patriots and Filihvsters, 17 ff. 

' J. C. Jamison, With Walker in Nicaragua, 119. (Columbia, Mo., 1909.) 


would have been otherwise. Most of them had acquired the 
drinking habit before leaving home, and the depressing influence 
of the climate, the removal of the usual social restraints, and the 
presence of danger combined to increase the amount of drunken- 
ness. It not infrequently happened that when a detachment of 
troops found itself in a critical situation the oflScers would take to 
hard drinking, whether to fortify their courage or out of sheer des- 
peration it is difficult to say. 

One result of the prevalent intemperance was much quarrelling, 
which frequently ended in duels. Walker himself, it will be 
recalled, had resorted to the code duello in California, but the 
frequency of the encounters and the trivial causes from which 
they originated gave him much concern. For a time, says Jamison, 
a day that passed without a duel evoked comment.^ A temperance 
worker from California, the Rev. Israel S. Diehl, visited Granada 
in the autumn of 1856, and organized a chapter of the "Sons of 
Temperance." About fifty men, officers and soldiers, joined and 
took the pledge, but the organization held no meetings after the 
departure of its founder, and many of its members backslid. ^ One 
of Walker's lieutenants, while under the influence of drink, shot a 
private soldier and a fellow officer. He was court-martialed and 
sentenced to hang, and wrote a confession, admitting that he had 
shot five other men in the United States, and attributing all his 
trouble to "whiskey and a crazy mind," Walker commuted the 
sentence to shooting.^ 

Before the arrival of Henningsen with George Law's present of 
Minie guns, only two companies were equipped with the rifle. 
These were the Rangers (Walker's cavalry), who were also provided 
with pistols and sabres, and the Rifles. The other infantry com- 
panies were armed with the antiquated smooth-bore musket that 
had been discarded by the United States army, and with old- 

* J. C. Jamison, With Walker in Nicaragua, 108. 

» New York Herald, Oct. 19 and Nov. 17, 1856. • Ibid., Oct. 19, 1856. 


fashioned Colt's pistols. The officers gave much attention to 
swordsmanship, in which a number became quite expert ; but this 
was an art of no practical use, as a hand-to-hand conflict with the 
natives was the thing least likely to occur. At the end of 1856 
the Nicaraguan service was in nine divisions : the Rifles ; the infan- 
try ; the ordnance ; the arsenal ; the Rangers ; the Commissary 
Rangers; the commissary department; the quartermaster's 
department ; and the civil service. 

The Commissary Rangers were made up of picked men under the 
direction of W. K. Rogers, the sub-secretary of hacienda. The 
natives called Rogers the "confiscator-general." He and his men 
were among Walker's firmest supporters ; they had no regular drill, 
but to them fell the disagreeable duty of foraging for corn, cattle, 
and provender and of paying therefor in worthless scrip. The 
mounts of the Rangers were generally mules of an indifferent quality.^ 

One party of Rangers was sent into the district of Chontales 
under the command of Byron Cole to levy a contribution of cattle 
upon the grazers. Cole, who has been described as "the last advo- 
cate of gentleness and conciliation" in Nicaragua,^ would allow none 
of his men to enter the houses of the well-to-do for fear that they 
might be unable to resist a temptation to plunder. A nun, who 
was a refugee from Granada, had established a small school on.the 
Malacatolla River, and when the Rangers reached this point she 
entertained them for two days. Cole, however, would not allow 
them to enter the house, and they slept under the portico. Two 
months later a second party of these Rangers came along and ran- 
sacked the house, taking whatever of value they could find.^ It 
was the depredations and excesses of these detached filibusters that 
aroused much of the native resentment against the Americans. It 
should be said, moreover, that the natives soon learned to discrim- 
inate between the undesirable and the well-bred American troopers. 

1 New York Times, March 9 and 30, 1857. 

« Ibid., May 30, 1857. » Harper's Weekly, I., 188-9. 


Their animosity was especially keen against Californians and 
Texans, terms which they regarded as synonymous with plunder- 
ers.^ For their use of the term " Texan " in such a sense they had 
some reason. In July, 1856, a party of about thirty men, styling 
themselves "Texas Rangers," arrived in Granada and were per- 
mitted to form themselves into a mounted company. They 
quickly violated the confidence imposed in them by deserting, and 
proved to be only a gang of robbers who had come to Nicaragua 
for marauding. They were lucky to have put a considerable dis- 
tance between themselves and Walker's men before their imposture 
was discovered, as the latter would surely have hanged any that 
fell into their clutches.^ 

It would hardly be just to omit any reference to the filibuster 
army's mascots. When the " fifty-six " first landed at Brito and be- 
gan their march on Rivas, a common cur dog made friends with the 
men and followed them wherever they went. He was christened 
"Filibuster." He took part in the capture of Granada, and every 
scouting or foraging party of Rangers had his company. When 
Goicouria made his visit of pacification to Chontales, "Filibuster" 
went along, and fell fighting for his companions' cause in a skirmish 
at Juigalpa. When the news reached Granada, some poetic adven- 
turer indited a long poem to the canine's memory, which was 
published in El Nicaraguense : 

A gaunt and grizzled creature, with harsh and matted hair, 

And eyes like some fierce mountain wolf, just startled from his lair ; 

No pet for ladies' parlour, nor watch for lonesome hall ; 

But, Ishmaelite of canine life, he seemed the scorn of all. 

Yet strangely, too, he followed us, on march or in the fray ; 

He was our constant shadow, at midnight or by day. 

Despite of kicks and curses, not few nor far between, 

Despite of wintry [ 1 ] weather, and hunger, too, I ween, 

His conduct ever faithful, again and still again, 

By slow degrees did gain for him the favour of our men. 

* Conversation with General John T. McGrath. 

* Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, p. 155. 


In Juigalpa's plaza our soldiers met the foe, 

And a bullet from their riflemen full soon did lay him low. 

He fell. 'Twas in the van he fought ; the charge he fearless led, 

And died still bravely fighting for the cause he'd often bled. 

"Filibuster" was succeeded by another of his species named 
"Prince," who showed the same fondness for things military. 

In September, 1856, Walker changed the flag of the republic. 
In place of the old design, showing five volcanoes in eruption, he 
substituted a flag of two blue stripes, with a white stripe between 
them which was the width of the other two combined. In the centre 
of the white stripe was placed a red star with five points. When 
the Rifles bore this standard into battle at Masaya, they had 
inscribed on it the legend " Five or None," expressing Walker's ulti- 
mate design of a conquest and consolidation of all Central America. 

A few days after his breach with Rivas Walker seized a Costa 
Rican schooner, the San Jose, which had entered the harbour of 
San Juan del Sur flying the American flag. The grounds for the 
seizure were that the vessel was without papers or a lawful flag. 
A "court of admiralty" was created to pass upon the case, and the 
vessel was adjudged condemned and forfeited to the government. 
She was then equipped with two six-pound guns, rechristened the 
Granada, and placed under the command of Lieutenant Callender 
Irvine Fayssoux. Men were detailed from the different companies 
to man the vessel, and Nicaragua was now possessed of a navy. 
The owner of the schooner was a well-to-do Nicaraguan merchant 
named Mariano Salazar, a Democrat and one of Walker's stanchest 
supporters. Salazar had made an American, Gilbert Morton, half 
owner of the schooner, supposing that this would give him the right 
to fly the United States flag, and under its protection he had 
planned to conduct a profitable trade along the west coast during 
the hostilities in Nicaragua. When Walker spoiled these plans 
Salazar became his dearest foe.^ 

1 War in Nicaragua, 229-30 ; Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 145, 155, 173. 


As soon as Fayssoux was ready for sea, he was ordered to cruise 
in the neighbourhood of the Bay of Fonseca, where it was suspected 
that the partizans of Rivas were communicating with Guatemala 
and San Salvador by boats plying from Tempisque, on the Real 
River, across the bay to La Union in San Salvador. Walker hoped 
to intercept some of the correspondence between Rivas and his 
allies and to prevent reinforcements being sent across the bay. 
On July 21 the Granada with four oflBcers, fifteen seamen, and a car- 
penter weighed anchor and stood out to sea on her first cruise. Her 
commander had had an interesting history, and was destined to 
add a still more interesting chapter to the story of his life. Fays- 
soux was a native of Missouri, and had served as a midshipman in 
the navy of the republic of Texas. After Texas disbanded its navy 
and became a State he joined an expedition to Cuba in 1849, in the 
steamship Fanny, but this enterprise was thwarted by American 
naval officers. The next year he took part in the Lopez expedition 
in the Creole, and distinguished himself at Cardenas by swimming 
ashore with a rope between his teeth and thus enabling his com- 
panions to effect a landing. In 1851 he again followed Lopez in his 
ill-fated descent upon Cuba, and in April, 1856, he sailed from New 
Orleans to try his fortunes in Nicaragua. Walker soon found an 
opportunity to utilize his services. Like his chief, he was small 
physically and very taciturn, and equally obstinate in matters 
affecting the dignity of his position.^ 

An incident which occurred in February, 1857, shows the charac- 
ter of the two men. The British man-of-war Esk, under the com- 
mand of Sir Robert McClure, was in the harbour of San Juan del 
Sur. Sir Robert sent a subordinate aboard the Granada to inquire 
by what authority she flew a flag unknown to any nation and to 
order h©r commander to come aboard the Esk and exhibit his 
commission. Fayssoux replied that his commission was in his 
cabin, and if compelled to do so he would show it there under pro- 

J Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, p. 219 : New York Herald, Dec. 16, 1856. 


test, but he positively refused to go aboard the Esk with it, although 
the officer tried both threats and persuasion. When all means 
failed, the officer invited him to accompany him in his boat as a 
friend and visit the Esk. Fayssoux replied that he would go in 
his own boat, and did so a few minutes thereafter. Some days 
later Sir Robert McClure visited Walker to confer about the 
removal of some British subjects. The general neither rose nor 
offered the visitor a seat, but remarked after formal greetings had 
been exchanged, " I hope you have come to apologize for that affair 
of the schooner." Sir Robert was too surprised to reply, and 
Walker continued, " Your conduct, sir, to Captain Fayssoux was 
unbecoming an Englishman and a British officer. I shall make 
such a representation of it to your government as will cause an 
investigation and insure an explanation.*' An apology was 
quickly forthcoming.^ 

The establishment of a navy was an event of so much interest 
at the army headquarters that a portion of the vessel's log was 
published in Walker's paper. 

"Monday, July 21, 1856. At three p.m. the schooner Granada, 
Lieut. Fayssoux, sailed from San Juan del Sur — being the first 
vessel that ever went to sea as a government vessel — the com- 
mencement of the Nicaraguan navy. 

"Tuesday, July 22, 1856. Running down the coast towards 

"Wednesday, July 23, 1856. Opened the boxes of packed 
ammunition — found it unfit for use. Made eighty round for 
the guns ; at three p.m. bore away for Tigre Island, about twelve 
miles distant. 

"Thursday, July 24, 1856. Cruising in the Gulf. At two p.m. 
saw a large number of small craft to the eastward; gave chase. 
At three p.m. a brig about four miles to windward, showing Chilean 
colours. At four-thirty captured the sloop Mana (French papers), 

1 Harper's Weekly, I., 199. 


no cargo or passengers. At six a heavy squall from South ; double 
reefed the sails and began to work off the shore." ^ 

On July 27 Fayssoux captured a bungo with a large number of 
passengers, among whom was none other than Salazar, the former 
owner of the Granada. A number of letters were also taken, 
among them one from Thomas Manning, the British vice-consul 
at Realejo, to a merchant in San Salvador, in which he expressed 
great regret that the other States were doing so little to expel the 
Americans, and declared that they should at least double their 
present forces in the field. Walker at once revoked Manning's 
exequatur for "unduly interfering in the interior affairs of the 
republic." ^ Salazar met the fate which befell all whom Walker 
deemed guilty of treason, and was shot on the plaza of Granada. 
His previous Democratic aflBliations had made him an object of 
hatred to the Granadinos, and they hailed his death with as much 
joy as the Leonese had shown at the death of Corral. Salazar's 
friends at Leon, on hearing of his capture, arrested an American 
resident. Dr. Joseph W. Livingston, and sent a courier to Granada 
with a statement that the American would be held as a hostage for 
the safety of Salazar. The courier arrived several days after the 
execution, and Livingston was saved only by the prompt inter- 
vention of Minister Wheeler. 

* El Nicaraguense, Aug. 9, 1856. 

» Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 146, 155 ; War in Nicaragua, 236-7. 

"Here was Granada" 

On July 12, the very day of Walker's inaugural, the first 
detachment of troops from San Salvador reached Leon. Six days 
later Guatemalan troops joined them, bringing the total allied 
force to 1300 men. To these the Rivas government could add 
only about five hundred. It will be seen, therefore, that Walker's 
authority never extended over the district of Leon. In spite of the 
superior number of troops mobilizing in the North, Walker had 
very little as yet to fear from them. It fell to Rivas to say who 
among them should take supreme command, and he named the 
Salvadorian chief, Ramon Belloso. This naturally angered the 
Guatemalans, who desired the honour for their commander, 
General Paredes. So much ill-feeling resulted that there were con- 
stant street brawls between the three nationalities, and it finally 
became necessary to confine the men of each command to separate 
quarters. Stung by his slighting their leader, the Guatemalans 
gave to Rivas the nickname of " Patas Arriba " (Topsy Turvy).* 

The Rivas government had sent a commissioner to Honduras to 
establish friendly relations also with that republic, but Guardiola, 
then at the head of that State, would do nothing. He had no quar- 
rel with the man who had refused to aid his old Democratic foe. 
Cabanas. When, however, he saw President Carrera, of Guate- 
mala, his old friend and ally, enter the field against Walker, he 
could no longer remain neutral, and on July 7 he issued a proclama- 

^ Monttifar, 518 ff. In order that English-speaking readers may appreciate the 
humour of this nickname, it may be necessary to state that Patricio Rivas, under a 
Spanish tongue, has a sound very similar to patas arriba. 



tion stating that Nicaragua had implored the aid of Honduras and 
they would make its cause their own, not only on account of the 
natural sympathy between the two regions, but also because Hon- 
duras would be greatly endangered if Nicaragua once submitted 
to a foreign yoke. On July 20 a force of six hundred Hondurans 
began their march to the frontier.^ 

On July 18 the governments of Honduras, Guatemala, and San 
Salvador entered into a treaty of alliance for the defence of their 
sovereignty and independence, recognized Rivas as the provisional 
president of Nicaragua, promised him their aid wdth troops, which 
they were to furnish in proportions to be later determined, and 
announced their intention of aiding in the suppression of internal 
dissensions. They also invited Costa Rica to join the alliance.^ 
That country had not abandoned the idea of making war on 
Walker, though in the face of the ravages of the plague it had for 
months been helpless. Its minister of foreign affairs, Joaquin 
Bernardo Calvo, in June addressed the government of San Salvador, 
expressing a hope that the other Central American republics would 
continue the work which Costa Rica had so happily begun. ^ An 
agent of the Spanish government also arrived in Costa Rica and 
used his influence to egg on the doughty little republic against the 
Americans in Nicaragua. The fact that Walker had rallied to his 
side so many of the Cuban revolutionists had aroused suspicions 
at Madrid. When the plague had spent its force Mora gave his 
attention again to affairs in Nicaragua, and in August convened 
his Congress to make plans for renewing the war. 

Spain was not the only European power to show its interest. 
The French corvette Embuscade protected the Salvadorian forces 
crossing the Bay of Fonseca in bungos from attack by the Granada, 
which was cruising off the bay.* Early in August an English 

1 Monttjfar, 547-8. « Ibid., 65Q-8. 

• " Mi gobiemo confia en que las fuerzas de Guatemala, el Salvador, y Honduras 
concliurdn la obra que el imci6 tan felizmente." Montlifar, 638. 

* Monttifar, 549. 


squadron, consisting of thirteen ships of war, mounting 268 guns 
and manned by 2500 men, arrived in the harbour of Greytown/ 

On August 4, Walker, observing the hostile coalition against him, 
issued a decree declaring all the ports of Central America, except 
those used for interoceanic transit, in a state of blockade, and or- 
dered his " navy " to put the decree into effect.^ Sickness and deser- 
tion now were depleting his ranks. Granada had always been an 
unhealthful place for the Americans, and cholera and typhus 
were now doing their worst. The fear of disease and the known 
proximity of the allies were the main causes of desertion, but other 
causes contributed. Food was growing scarcer. The natives had 
migrated in large numbers from the vicinity of Granada and Ri- 
vas, and the Americans had eaten up most of the available pro- 
visions. Few recruits in the United States could be induced to 
migrate to the tropics in midsummer. The large numbers who had 
left New York during the preceding December and January were 
partly impelled by a desire to escape the rigours of a Northern 
winter. The excitement incident to a political campaign in the 
United States not improbably distracted attention from the Amer- 
icans in Nicaragua. The bulk of the filibuster forces occupied 
Granada ; about four hundred were stationed in Masaya, which 
was strongly fortified, and the Rangers under Waters occupied 
Managua, the point most advanced toward the enemy. Detach- 
ments of Rangers sometimes showed themselves in the vicinity of 
Leon for the moral effect their presence would have on the allies 
stationed there. 

The condition of the enemy was no better than that of the Ameri- 
cans. Cholera and fever were as virulent at Leon as at Granada. 
Inactivity, sickness, a high death rate, and constant quarrels dur- 
ing the months of July, August, and part of September almost 

^ MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Nicaragua Lega- 
tions, II. 

* MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Notes, Central 
American Legations, II. ; El Nicaraguense, Aug. 9, 1856. 


destroyed the morale of the allies, and Walker remained quiet 
while disease and divisions were working in his favour. Not only 
was there dissension among the different nationalities, but there 
were also serious disagreements among the Nicaraguans themselves. 
The old distrust between Legitimists and Democrats would not 
die down. Jerez, Walker's former co-labourer and the foremost 
Democrat, was the man best qualified to be their leader, but 
Legitimists could not tolerate the idea ; neither could Jerez bring 
his former following to give more than half-hearted support to the 
campaign, because the movement seemed to be largely of Legitimist 
inspiration.^ There was not a really capable leader in the allied 
camps, and the fourth-rate generals were mutually jealous. 

The allies finally began their advance southward on September 
18. As they approached Managua the Rangers under Waters fell 
back on Masaya, and the enemy entered the town unresisted on 
the 24th. There they remained for a week, apparently hesitating 
as to the next step. At Masaya, twelve miles north of Granada, 
four hundred Americans were confronting them behind strong 
barricades. An American newspaper, the Masaya Herald, was 
published at this place. On October 1 it declared, "Masaya is 
to-day the Sebastopol of Nicaragua, and we say to our enemies, 
whatever their number, ' Come on, we are ready to receive you as 
you deserve.'"^ Walker at this juncture committed a blunder 
very like that at the beginning of war with Costa Rica. He ordered 
the evacuation of Masaya and drew all his forces into Granada.^ 
The allies then advanced and posted themselves in the town behind 
his own fortifications. He then allowed them ten days in which to 
recuperate and receive reinforcements. They also prevented for- 
aging by Walker's Rangers, and thus caused much inconvenience. 
It is the story of the operations at Rivas all over again. After 
allowing the enemy to take the town and secure the protection of 
barricades and adobe walls, he decided to attack them and regain 

» Monttifar, 612 ff. » Ihid., 614. » War in Nicaragua, 288-9. 


the lost position, and on October 11 he set out from Granada with 
eight hundred men. 

Meanwhile the bickerings which had so seriously disturbed the 
allies at Leon broke out again, with the result that Zavala, in com- 
mand of the Guatemalans, and Estrada, the former Legitimist 
president of Nicaragua, withdrew their forces to the neighbouring 
village of Diriomo. Their departure was no loss, as harmony was 
restored among those who remained. Masaya was now attacked 
by Walker in very much the same manner that he had attacked 
Rivas just six months before. Bit by bit the Americans drove the 
defenders through the streets in the direction of the plaza, and 
were on the point of taking it, when an unexpected movement on 
the part of Estrada and Zavala caused him to abandon the attack 
and hurry back to Granada. This city was menaced by Estrada 
and Zavala, who, instead of marching to the support of Belloso as 
soon as they saw that he was attacked, took the road to Granada, 
which they expected to find undefended. On the part of able 
generals such a movement might be attributed to military skill, but 
in this case Central Americans themselves say it was prompted by 
a desire to win unshared glory, to which we might add, as another 
inducement, the prospect of loot. Disappointed in finding a small 
garrison, consisting mainly of civil employees and inmates of the 
hospital, which offered a determined resistance, these worthies 
vented their rage on the helpless non-combatants, committing 
atrocities which even Walker's hostile critic Perez admits and enu- 
merates. Two American missionaries, D. H. Wheeler and William 
J. Ferguson, were murdered, and their naked bodies were thrown 
into the market-place.^ A six-year-old English boy was shot down 
as he sat at the dinner table, and a merchant, John B. Lawless, a 
native of Ireland but a naturalized American citizen, who had lived 
in Granada for years and had enjoyed the esteem of all factions, 

1 MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Despatches, Nica- 
raguan Legation, II. 


was taken from his house and his body riddled with bullets and 
mutilated with bayonets. The American flag, flying on the house 
of Minister Wheeler, was fired upon, and insulting epithets were 
shouted at the minister, who was then lying seriously ill. He might 
have fared even worse had not a few riflemen been sent for his pro- 
tection by Colonel Fry. The Americans had taken defensive posi- 
tions in the various public buildings and had sustained an attack 
for twenty-four hours before Walker returned and drove out the 
enemy. Father Rossiter, the chaplain of the army, and John 
Tabor, editor of El Nicaraguense, were among the civilians who 
helped defend the city. The latter sufl^ered a broken thigh. Padre 
Vijil was less militant than his brother of the cloth, and took 
refuge in a swamp as soon as the trouble began. Shortly after the 
enemy's repulse he came from his hiding place and applied to 
W^alker for a passport to leave the country. 

Walker drove the enemy from Granada on October 13, the 
anniversary of his capture of the city from the Legitimists. The 
pillaging of the Guatemalans seriously curtailed his supplies. He 
had lost very few at Masaya, but had suffered rather seriously in 
his attack on Zavala. His aide-de-camp. Colonel Laine, the Cuban, 
lost his way between Masaya and Granada and was taken prisoner. 
Much ado was made over his capture by the allies, and Zavala at 
once ordered him to be shot.^ As soon as this news was verified at 
Granada, Walker ordered the execution of two Guatemalan 
prisoners of rank, Lieutenant-Colonel Valderraman and Captain 
Allende, to show the enemy that he would return two blows for one 
if they chose to wage warfare of that character. The execution of 
the two Guatemalans, however, disgusted many of Walker's officers 
with his service. The two prisoners were cultured gentlemen ; 
they took their captivity philosophically, made themselves com- 
panionable with the officers, and won their friendship. Walker's 

» According to Monttifar, Lain6's last words were: "Los hombres mueren, las 
ideas quedan." (Men die; their ideas remain.) 


men acquiesced when the order for the execution was issued, but 
their hearts burned within them. 

Belloso at Masaya had suffered so heavily from Walker's riflemen 
that he did not follow the filibuster leader on his withdrawal to 
Granada. He had sent orders to Zavala at Diriomo to come to 
his support when the attack began, and was so incensed that the 
Guatemalan had gone to Granada instead that he refused to lift 
a finger to aid him against Walker and resolved to let his ally take 
his medicine alone. There was a serious schism in the camp of the 
allies, but the prospects were brightened a fortnight later when 
Costa Rica joined in the contest. On November 1, President 
Mora, realizing the value of the Transit as " a highway of filibuster- 
ism," issued a decree declaring that the war with the "immigrant 
usurpers" had been renewed, and proclaiming a blockade of the 
port of San Juan del Sur and the San Juan River as long as hostil- 
ities against the invaders continued.^ On the next day General 
Canas set out with the advance guard, with the purpose of occupy- 
ing the Transit road. On the 7th he occupied San Juan del Sur, 
which was not garrisoned. Indeed, the only force Walker then 
had in the entire district of Rivas was the "navy" under Fayssoux. 

The invasion by Costa Rica threatened to destroy Walker's line 
of communications, and made it necessary for him to take a position 
where he could defend the Transit. His forces were too small to 
permit their division in the face of superior numbers of the enemy. 
By the middle of the month the allies at Masaya had been rein- 
forced until they numbered over three thousand. To garrison 
a large city against these, and at the same time to hold the Transit 
against the incoming Costa Ricans, was a task beyond the fili- 
busters' strength. Their leader then decided to evacuate Granada 
and establish himself at Rivas, which Mora himself had converted 
into a strongly fortified town the previous spring. Fearing, how- 

1 MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Notes, Central 
America, II. 


ever, that the allies at Masaya might effect a junction at Rivas 
with the Costa Ricans and thus forestall him in his plan to hold 
the Transit, Walker resolved upon a quick attack upon both in 
succession, so as to conceal his real plans. On November II he 
and Henningsen landed with two hundred and fifty men at Virgin 
Bay and the next day marched to San Juan del Sur, defeating and 
scattering the forces under Canas that opposed their progress, and 
leaving the Costa Ricans so demoralized that he would have noth- 
ing more to fear until they were reinforced. The next morning he 
marched back to Virgin Bay and that night was again in Granada 
and planning a second attack on the allies in Masaya. Two days 
later, with a force of five hundred and sixty, he again took the road 
to Masaya, and when he had covered about half the distance 
learned that Jerez had set out for Rivas with seven or eight hundred 
men. This necessitated his sending two hundred and fifty of his 
force back to Granada with orders to take the steamer for Virgin 
Bay and hold the Transit. 

Walker was now left with only three hundred available men, 
and proposed to attack a force eight times that number behind 
barricades and adobe walls. With Henningsen in charge of the 
artillery, however, he had some hopes of success. The attack 
began on the 15th and lasted through the 17th. The artillery 
failed to meet expectations, as the fuses were timed too short, and 
most of the shells exploded in the air. Sappers cut through the 
walls of one house into another, and as the Americans advanced 
they set fire to the houses behind them to prevent an attack from 
the rear. The work was slow, but by the night of the 17th they had 
reached a point within twenty-five or thirty yards of the enemy's 
posts on the plaza. To drive the enemy from the town would have 
required several days more of this kind of fighting ; and though the 
foe was badly shaken. Walker was compelled to abandon the attack. 
His men had reached the point of physical exhaustion, and fully a 
third of them were killed or wounded. It was almost impossible 


to make any of them act as guards, so great was their weariness. 
On the night of the 17th, therefore, they withdrew and retreated in 
good order to Granada, the horses and mules conveying a long line 
of wounded. The allies were ignorant of their departure till the 
next morning, and then gave themselves up to the celebration of a 
great victory. Had they pursued the weary foe, Granada might 
easily have fallen into their hands, and the war would have been 
at an end. It is with much reason that the native historians 
bring charges of incompetence against the allied chiefs.^ Walker 
and his followers reached Granada early on the 18th, and the very 
next day began their preparations for evacuating the city. 

Granada stood on a plain sloping toward the shores of the lake. 
Its situation proved one of the most unhealthful in Nicaragua, 
and yet it was always the favourite residence of the Americans. 
It was of some strategic importance, as it commanded the lake ; 
but with the steamers in their possession the Americans could 
easily have maintained this advantage without remaining in 
Granada. Walker's chief purpose in remaining there seems to 
have been to secure the moral advantage which his occupation of 
the old Legitimist capital gave him in the eyes of the natives. In 
the few weeks preceding his evacuation of the place the mortality 
among his men became fearful. Sudden change of climate, unwise 
use of fruits, excessive drinking, poorly prepared food, irregular 
hours, drenching rains, vermin-infested barracks, and general 
neglect of hygiene soon made the recruit a ripe subject for typhoid 
or yellow fever, dysentery, or the cholera. Physicians and drugs 
were obtained for the service, but the doctors were naturally not 
the pride of the medical profession, and it would have been impos- 
sible at that time to secure an American physician who knew any- 
thing of tropical diseases. It is only within recent years that the 
world has learned to combat the dreaded yellow fever or to check 
the ravages of typhoid, and it would be grossly unfair to judge 

^ Monttifar says, " Con raz6n se hacen hasta hoy serios cargos & los jefes aliados." 


Walker's surgical staff with the twentieth-century physician as a 
standard. Yet, when all allowances are made, the hospital service 
stands convicted of inefficiency that was little less than criminal. 
Two large buildings were chosen for use as hospitals, and they were 
rightly called chambers of horrors. One fourth or more of the men 
would be lying there at a time fighting fever, the filibusters' fiercest 
foe. There was no clean linen for the sufferers, and they had to lie 
in their filthy woollen clothes, which had served for months as a 
uniform by day and as pajamas at night. The cots were never 
cleaned or fumigated, and a wounded man would probably be 
assigned to a dingy one upon which some wretch a few hours before 
had succumbed to fever or cholera. Flies swarmed over festering 
wounds and transmitted infection from one patient to another. 
Vermin crawled over the bodies and in the hair of the sufferers. 
Many cried in vain for water; others were raving with delirium 
and would sometimes roll from their cots and lie for hours on a 
filthy floor before being replaced by incompetent attendants. The 
odor was almost overpowering, even to the strong and well. Worst 
of all, each day the places gave forth an array of ghastly corpses. 
It is not remarkable that in the presence of such depressing scenes 
the Americans were prone to resort to hard drinking, and that 
to the epidemics of fever and cholera there was added a third — 
desertion. When conditions were at their worst the daily mor- 
tality amounted to two or three per cent of the total American 
population, and at the time Granada was evacuated the death rate 
was so high that the surgeons declared that unless there were a 
change for the better every American in Nicaragua would be dead 
within six weeks.^ 

When Walker decided to evacuate Granada he ordered all the 
sick and wounded to be moved to the island of Ometepe. Some 
two hundred were laid on the decks of one of the lake steamers, 
which then went to Virgin Bay and received additions to its cargo 

» Harper's Weekly, I., 163-4 ; 313. 


there. Ometepe was a volcanic island used as an Indian reserva- 
tion and closed to white men unless the aborigines consented to 
their entrance.^ Walker disregarded the Indians' privileges and 
chose the little village of Muigalpa, on the western side of the 
island and thirteen miles from the mainland, for his hospital site. 
The place was only sixteen miles from Rivas, which he had chosen 
for his new headquarters, and he had planned to be in daily com- 
munication with it by way of the village of San Jorge, on the lake 
shore about three miles from Rivas. When the steamer received 
its gruesome cargo on November 19 and headed for the island the 
odor was so fearful that the attendants were driven to the hurricane 
deck. At the end of the trip several of the sufferers were dead, and 
a number were dying. 

On landing the sick it was necessary to lower them eight feet 
from the lower deck of the steamer to an iron barge, and this caused 
many of them intense agony. No provision had been made for 
their coming. The village was a quarter of a mile inland, and the 
patients had to be laid on the beach and carried bodily, a few at 
a time, to the village. The natives fled at the approach of the 
strangers, and the sick and wounded were placed in the abandoned 
huts. At midnight the barge made its last trip, bringing ashore the 
dead and the hospital supplies. 

The transfer had been conducted by Rogers, the " confiscator- 
general," who deserves credit for at least one humane act. On re- 
turning to Granada he slipped away quietly, leaving on the island 
a very resourceful officer. Captain John M. Baldwin, who had 
planned to rejoin Walker's command. Baldwin of course was in- 
dignant when he found that Rogers had left him behind, but at once 
began to set things in order and look after the sufferers. The half 
a dozen men who had been carrying the sick to the villages finally 
collapsed from sheer exhaustion, and twenty-four patients still lay 
on the sands by the lake. A wood contractor for the steamboats, 

1 Boyle, Frederick, A Ride Across a Continent, II., 69-70. (London, 1868.) 


who lived on the island, had a soup prepared by two native women 
who had stayed in the village, and at two o'clock in the morning this 
was fed to those on the beach. Then, to add to the misery of these 
wretches, the rain came, and though they were protected as much 
as possible by cloaks and blankets they were soaked by the shower, 
and the next morning several were dead. Five died also in the 
huts of the village. In five days there were thirty-six deaths, and 
a number, delirious or starving, tottered off into the woods and 
disappeared. The sight of these gaunt spectres, crying for food 
or raving with delirium, filled the natives with terror. There was 
not even a spade to bury the dead. No one thought of separate 
graves, and a pit for the bodies was dug with a wooden shovel and 
other improvised implements. Into this was placed each daily 
quota of corpses, without the use of bell, book, or bier.^ The soil 
they fain would have made their own served only to enshroud their 
mouldering bodies. 

Three days later the steamer made a second visit to the island, 
bringing over Colonel Fry and a guard of sixty men, besides a 
number of officers and doctors. With them came fifty or sixty 
American women and children, the families of some German mer- 
chants, and a number of native women whose husbands still 
remained in Walker's service. The women could give some aid 
in nursing, but the strongest of the sick and wounded had to be 
removed from the huts to give the women a place to stay. Many 
of the newcomers were so debilitated as only to add to the burdens 
of the rest. To increase the misery, on the night of December 1 
a party of Indian marauders attacked the village, firing into the 
huts and causing those who were able to leave to flee in terror out 
into the darkness. The Indians, however, were only after a chance 
to plunder the women's trunks, and after satisfying themselves with 
looting they retired at daybreak. Many of the men capable of 
fighting, and even several officers, disgracefully abandoned the 

1 Harper's Weekly, I., 200 f. 

"here was GRANADA" 261 

helpless sick, and women and children, and fled at the first alarm. 
Some of the fugitives put out for the mainland in canoes, and 
Walker on a lake steamer picked up a party of these early on the 
morning of the attack and headed at once for the island. As he 
drew near, he found the large barge used in landing the passengers on 
the island adrift on the lake and filled with men, women, and chil- 
dren in a most forlorn condition. These were taken aboard the 
steamer, and from some of the women Walker heard things that 
the most stout-hearted men would not have dared utter in his 
hearing. The sick, wounded, women and children were finally 
all removed to the mainland and quartered at San Jorge. The 
spirits of the Americans were much improved by their removal to 
a more healthful location, and the arrival of eighty recruits from 
California and two hundred and thirty-five from New Orleans 
under Lockridge did still more to revive their hopes.' 

While these events were taking place, Henningsen was engaged in 
a terrific struggle in Granada. On evacuating the city. Walker 
felt that to leave it intact would give the allies a strong fortress and 
all the prestige which he had enjoyed from occupying the Legitimist 
capital. He therefore resolved that the place should be destroyed, 
and delegated the work to Henningsen. After sending the sick and 
wounded to Ometepe, and leaving about three hundred men under 
Henningsen to carry on the work of destruction. Walker withdrew 
with the rest of his forces, only two companies of infantry, to Virgin 
Bay, where he expected Henningsen soon to join him with his 
ordnance stores and other supplies. 

The quarters of the men at Virgin Bay were much worse than 
at Granada. The food, too, was bad. Masaya, which had been 
called "the granary of Nicaragua," was in the hands of the enemy, 
and the foraging in the vicinity of the Transit was very poor. 
Fever was rife ; there was danger of an attack by Canas and his 
Costa Ricans, who had recently been reinforced at Rivas by Jerez 

^ War in Nicaragua, 331-4. 


with a large body of native Nicaraguans; and the spirits of the 
handful of soldiers fit for duty were very depressed. News came 
from San Juan del Sur on November 23 that Fayssoux had gone 
out of the harbour with the Granada to engage a Costa Rican brig, 
and had blown his vessel up to prevent capture. This only added 
to the prevailing gloom. The report was corrected a day later, 
however, when it became known that it was the enemy's vessel 
that had been blown up, and that Fayssoux had gained a 
naval victory. The spirits of the men were then greatly im- 
proved, and they spent the day in celebration of the first success 
at sea. 

The Costa Ricans had recently armed and equipped for war a 
brig which they renamed the Once de Abril (Eleventh of April) to 
commemorate their victory at the second battle of Rivas. They 
had planned to use the vessel to convey troops and munitions from 
Punta Arenas to San Juan del Sur and to intercept the movements 
of the filibuster schooner. The Once de Abril had four nine-pound 
guns and was manned by 114 men. The Granada carried two six- 
pound guns and had on board twenty-eight persons, five of whom 
were non-combatants. 

Fayssoux was at anchor in the harbour of San Juan del Sur on 
the afternoon of November 23, when at four o'clock a sail was 
sighted off the harbour and he weighed anchor and stood out to 
meet the incoming vessel. At six o'clock the two vessels were only 
a quarter of a mile apart, and the stranger was displaying Costa 
Rican colours. The Once de Abril opened the attack with cannon 
and muskets and the Granada returned the fire. For two hours 
the fighting continued. In San Juan del Sur the people gathered 
on the beach and watched the flashes from the guns in the gathering 
darkness. About eight o'clock there was a broad flash of light fol- 
lowed a few seconds later by a noise like thunder, and the spectators 
rightly assumed that one of the vessels had been blown up. As 
they waited for news and Fayssoux did not return, they concluded 


that he had destroyed his schooner to prevent her capture. They 
knew that his supply of ammunition was very meagre, and after 
the engagement had lasted two hours they naturally supposed that 
the commander was in dire straits and had resorted to desperate 
measures. They had frequently heard him say that he would never 
be taken. The surmise grew into a conviction, and the news of 
the supposed disaster was sent by courier to Walker and his 
dispirited followers at Virgin Bay. 

The next morning, however, the Granada was seen coming into 
port, with no apparent damage, but with decks crowded with men. 
These were the forty-one survivors from the wreck of the Costa 
Rican brig, whom Fayssoux had picked up out of the water. A 
shot from the Granada had entered the magazine of the brig, 
causing an explosion and blowing the vessel almost asunder. The 
burning hull floated for nearly an hour, but only four men could 
be rescued from the flames, as Fayssoux had only one boat and 
could pick up only a few at a time. The others who were saved 
had leaped into the water. The captain and many of the crew were 
badly burned, and Walker ordered his surgeons to give them the 
best of treatment. The rest of the crew received passports to 
return home — Walker could feed no prisoners — and their ac- 
count of their good treatment astonished the Costa Ricans, whose 
ideas of filibusters were derived from the abusive accounts in the 
government journal. When the captain of the Once de Abril 
finally recovered from his injuries he was placed aboard the steamer 
for Panama. In the engagement Fayssoux had one man killed, 
two seriously wounded, and six others slightly injured. The 
Granada's chief damage consisted of bullet holes in her sails, of 
which the crew counted two hundred and sixty. 

As soon as authentic news of the victory reached Walker he 
issued an order thanking Fayssoux in the name of the republic, 
promoting him to the rank of captain, and bestowing upon him the 
estate of "Rosario," near Rivas, in acknowledgment of his impor- 


tant services.^ The naval commander a short time thereafter 
visited his chief at Virgin Bay. Walker invited him to dine with 
his officers at their rather frugal meal and at dinner offered him 
wine. Fayssoux, being a total abstainer, declined, but his fellow- 
officers more than made up for his lack of conviviality in toasting 
him for his victory. 

In the meantime bad news came from Granada. The work of 
firing the city proved no simple task. As soon as the men saw that 
the town was to be burned they began to look after the safety of 
their own belongings and then to plunder. A large amount of 
fine liquor was found, which it seemed a pity to destroy, and the 
rank and file were soon engaged in a glorious carousal. The allies 
at Masaya soon learned that Walker had withdrawn from the 
city, leaving only a small garrison behind, and the Nicaraguan 
leader Martinez and General Paredes urged an immediate attack. 
It was enough, however, for Paredes to propose a plan for Belloso 
to object ; and two days were spent in wrangling before an advance 
was made. On the afternoon of November 24 Henningsen was 
attacked from three different quarters at the same time. He con- 
centrated his men in adobe houses around the plaza, but the allies 
seized the Guadalupe Church, which stood in the centre of the street 
leading from the plaza to the lake, and thus blocked his retreat to 
the stone pier where he might have been rescued by one of the 
steamers. Moreover, a party of twenty-seven men were on the 
wharf handling stores when the attack began, and when the church 
was seized they were cut off from their companions in the plaza. 
The wharf had been built out of a portion of an old stone fort, the 
remains of which were still standing. Behind its crumbling walls 
these twenty-seven took their stand and kept the enemy at bay for 
two days. Walker approached the shore in the San Carlos and 
communicated with them by night, sending provisions and ammu- 

1 War in Nicaragua, 315-8; Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 219; New York Herald, 
Dec. 16 and 31, 1856; Monttifar, 687 fiF. 


nition. It was necessary to hold the wharf if Henningsen were to 
be reUeved, and the Httle garrison expressed itself as confident of 
maintaining the position. But there was a traitor among them. 
A Venezuelan named Tejada, whom the Americans had found in 
chains and freed when they took Granada a year before, deserted 
to the enemy, and revealed to them the small size of the garrison 
and indicated a means of attacking them in the rear by using one 
of the Transit Company's barges. The following night the 
defenders of the wharf were surrounded and destroyed to a man. 

Henningsen meanwhile set fire to the buildings in the plaza and 
captured the Guadalupe Church by storm, though he was hampered 
at the beginning of the assault by the continued carousals of his 
men, whom the imminent danger seemed to demoralize still further. 
Into the church were crowded fighting men, sick and wounded, 
and women and children. His total fighting force now amounted 
to two hundred and ten, and in addition there were seventy-one 
women and children and about ninety wounded. 

On November 28 the enemy sent a letter to Henningsen under a 
flag of truce calling upon him in the name of humanity to surrender, 
and promising his men protection and passports to leave the coun- 
try if he complied. Henningsen sent a defiant reply, declining 
to do so. The allies then repeatedly attempted to storm the 
church, but the American rifle wrought such terrible execution 
that they became disheartened, and the officers found it impossible 
to drive the men to further assaults. Those in the church were 
now reduced to a diet of horse and mule flesh, with a small allow- 
ance of flour and coffee. The insanitary condition of the building 
beggared description. Nearly four hundred men, women, and 
children, wounded, sick, and well, were crowded together. From 
the surrounding streets, where lay the putrefying bodies of the 
enemies' dead, slain in the assaults on the church, there came a 
horrible stench. There was no proper food for the sick within 
the church, and death laid its hand heavily there. Then the 


cholera came, and proved an enemy tenfold more dreadful than 
the allies. As soon as the men were seized with this malady they 
were given heav^' doses of opium, and were not allowed to drink 
water, which was regarded as fatal. The drug drove many to the 
point of madness, and crying for water they would crawl about over 
the floor and over the bodies of other victims dead and dying. 
Sometimes two delirious victims would fall to fighting, grappling 
and falling over the body of a wounded companion, who would 
shriek with pain.' 

In the midst of such terrible scenes one figure stood out like a 
shining light : the church had its Florence Nightingale. She was 
the wife of an actor named Edward Bingham. With her husband, 
who had become a helpless invalid, she went to Nicaragua under 
the promise of free passage and a grant of land, and from the time 
of her arrival she had helped attend the sick and wounded, and at 
Guadalupe Church perhaps nursed many a victim to recovery. 
Her self-denial and courage gained her the warmest gratitude of 
the soldiers, but she too fell a victim to the dread malady and suc- 
cumbed within a few hours.^ 

In seventeen days there were one hundred and twenty deaths 
among the soldiers and non-combatants, not counting those killed 
in action. The sick were finally removed to some huts connected 
with the church by a line of adobe breastworks, and conditions 
then improved.^ On December 1 the movement toward the lake 
began. At night the breastworks on either side of the street would 
be pushed farther, and by day they would be defended against the 
attacks of the enemy. Thirty men were left in the church to pre- 
vent an attack in the rear, and communication between the church 

1 Harper's Weekly, I., 71. 

• Her children perished with her, but her crippled husband survived all the horrors 
of the siege, and the San Joaquin Republican of Feb. 12, 1857, announces his ar- 
rival in California. See also Harper's Weekly, I., 87. 

« War in Nicaragua, 327-9 ; Montdfar, 720 ff. ; MS. in Wheeler Scrapbook no. 
4, 208. 


and the advancing party was constantly maintained. Henningsen 
thus retained a place for retreat in case the advancing barricades 
should be stormed by the allies. Day after day the enemy sought 
to cut the communications or to capture the church, but every 
attack was beaten back with heavy loss. The allies were receiving 
constant reinforcements, while sickness and wounds were depleting 
the ranks of the Americans, and food and ammunition were growing 
scarce in their quarters. But the officers showed great ingenuity 
in manufacturing solid shot for their six-pounders by making 
hollows in wet sand with cannon balls, partly filling them with iron 
slugs, and then pouring in molten lead to hold the mass together. 

The besiegers, too, were suffering from fever and cholera, and 
Paredes, leader of the Guatemalans, succumbed, leaving Zavala 
as chief in command. From Zavala on December 8 came a 
second letter to Henningsen, urging him to surrender, and stating 
that Walker could never aid him, as the last steamers on both sides 
had brought no recruits. This last statement was totally false. 
Henningsen sent merely a verbal response, to the effect that he 
was a soldier and would parley only at the cannon's mouth. 
Walker during all this time had stood off Granada every day in 
the steamer Virgen, watching for some chance to extricate his men 
from their perilous situation. The two companies stationed at 
Virgin Bay could not be withdrawn from that point without allow- 
ing the place to fall into the hands of Caiias and Jerez, who had 
effected a junction at Rivas. This would have given the enemy 
control of the Transit and have led to the immediate downfall of 
the filibuster regime. 

During the first week in December three hundred recruits arrived 
from California and New Orleans, and the Americans' prospects 
brightened perceptibly. The new arrivals were in fine spirits and 
anxious for a fight. A body of one hundred and sixty, organized 
into five companies, was then placed in charge of Colonel John 
Waters, the commander of the Rangers, and on the 11th were 


embarked on the Virgen. All of the following day was spent off 
the shore at Granada in observation of the enemy's position, and 
after dark the steamer, with all lights out, moved up to the same 
spot north of the city where the Americans landed to capture 
Granada exactly fourteen months before. The men were landed, 
and Walker returned to the place where the steamer had anchored 
during the day. Toward midnight the sharp crack of American 
rifles was heard, followed by the rumble of volleys of musketry 
from the enemy. The firing then lulled for a time, but soon the 
rifles cracked again, louder and nearer, giving to the chief the glad 
news that his trusted leader of the Rangers was driving in the foe. 
The firing lasted only a few minutes, and then all was silent. 
Straining their eyes and ears in the direction of the ruined 
city, the men on the steamer heard a cry from the water as of 
someone calling for help. A boat was speedily lowered and soon 
returned bringing a swarthy youth whom Walker in the dark- 
ness took to be a native, and began to question in Spanish. To 
his surprise he was answered in EngHsh, and the youth proved to 
be a Hawaiian lad, "Kanaka John," who had come to Nicaragua 
with Walker on the Vesta. The boy had been for hours in the 
water, and bore in a bottle a message from Henningsen. It notified 
Walker of the condition of the besieged and indicated certain sig- 
nals to be given in case they were to be relieved. The signals 
were given immediately, but the movements on shore prevented 
their being observed. The fighting on shore was resumed, and at 
daybreak Waters had stormed all the barricades of the allies and 
joined Henningsen, with a loss of over a fourth of his force, fourteen 
killed and thirty wounded. The way in which he had swept over 
the barricades in the darkness convinced the enemy that the reliev- 
ing force was many times greater than was really the case. They 
therefore immediately abandoned the old fort commanding the 
pier, and Henningsen seized it and established communications 
with the steamer. Preparations were begun at once to embark 


the survivors of the siege on the Virgen, and the enemy offered 
no opposition to their withdrawal. As he was departing Henning- 
sen stuck up a lance among the ruins, bearing a strip of rawhide 
containing the words "Aqui fue Granada" (Here was Granada).^ 

Of the 421 persons in Granada when the attack began, 124 were 
killed or wounded, 120 died, two were captured, and about forty 
deserted, bringing the total loss in seventeen days to 286. Of the 
total fighting force of 277 available at the beginning of the siege, 
124 were either killed or wounded, leaving 153 whom captures and 
desertions reduced still further to 111. How many of these were 
among the 120 who succumbed to cholera and fever, the statistics 
prepared by Henningsen do not show.^ Of the losses suffered by 
the allies we have no reliable data. Henningsen's statement that 
they lost between fifteen and sixteen hundred, which he claimed to 
base on summaries in the Guatemalan papers, is improbable, as 
their total besieging force amounted to not more than three thousand, 
and his estimate would mean that they had lost every second man. 

The survivors of this memorable siege were carried to San Jorge. 
When Canas and Jerez learned of Henningsen's relief, they hastily 
abandoned Rivas, fearing an attack from the artillery now at 
Walker's disposal, and joined Belloso at Masaya. The attack on 
Granada is not one of the great sieges of history, but few combats 
have shown such desperate valour on the part of defenders and such 
stubborn resistance against fearful odds. When the besieged were 
extricated, Walker was deemed to have accomplished the well-nigh 

Padre Vijil was at Grey town when word of the burning of 
Granada reached him. The old priest was heartbroken at the 
news, and walked back and forth wringing his hands and expressing 
his bitter regret that he had ever joined with the men who had 
alienated his friends and destroyed his property.^ 

* War in Nicaragua, 318-42 ; Jamison, With Walker in Nicaragtta, Ch. 9. 

2 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, p. 208. (MS. in Minister Wheeler's handwriting.) 

3 Harper's Weekly, April 25, 1857. 

The Vengeance of Vanderbilt 

While Walker's situation still remained critical, his prospects 
in the middle of December, 1856, were better than at any time since 
the beginning of the war with the Central American coalition. The 
enemy had held Masaya at fearful cost, and had been unable to 
prevent the destruction of Granada or to inflict upon the destroyers 
the punishment they had planned. Their losses in battle were 
generally threefold those of the filibusters. They were lacking 
in leadership, torn with dissensions, scourged with the plague. 
Caiias and his Costa Ricans were so dispirited after their encounter 
with Walker on the Transit road on November 1 1 that a short time 
thereafter they allowed eighty recruits to land at San Juan del Sur 
and march past their front to Virgin Bay without molestation, 
although the newcomers were only one tenth the strength of the 
force Canas could have brought against them. The allied forces 
were almost on the point of disintegration when a new power came 
to their aid. 

Vanderbilt for many months had been in correspondence with 
the presidents of the Central American republics, urging that they 
unite against the common enemy.^ Now that all the governments 
had taken the field and the filibusters were closely pressed, he 
perceived that the hour for his revenge had come. In the autumn 
he sent two agents, an Englishman named William Robert C. 
Webster and an American named Spencer, to San Jose to show the 
Costa Rican government the way to give a death blow to filibuster- 
ism. Spencer and Webster reached the capital on November 28, 

1 G&mez, Historia de Nicaragua, 630-1. 


and at once entered into secret consultation with President Mora. 
The president was enthusiastic over their plans and promised the 
cooperation of his forces. Vanderbilt knew that an open Transit 
was the key to Walker's strength, and that if by any means the 
Costa Ricans could get control of the steamboats on the San Juan 
River no recruits or supplies could reach the filibusters from the At- 
lantic ports ; and, as passengers could then no longer cross the isth- 
mus, the ocean steamers would be w^ithdrawn, and no further rein- 
forcements would arrive from California. Disease, starvation, and 
the allies could then be counted upon to effect a speedy collapse of 
the filibuster regime . Moreover, by blocking the passage of the river, 
Vanderbilt would not only revenge himself upon Walker, but would 
have the additional satisfaction of driving his supplanters, Morgan 
and Garrison, out of business. He then expected that in gratitude 
for his aid in the extermination of the invaders the Nicaraguan 
government would grant him a new concession of the Transit route, 
and his triumph would be complete. Indeed, he felt so sure of the 
success of his scheme that on Christmas day he published a card in 
the New York newspapers announcing to the stockholders in the 
old company that "Present appearances indicate a realization of 
my hopes that the company will be speedily restored to their rights, 
franchises, and property upon the isthmus of Nicaragua, which 
has been so unjustly invaded." ^ 

The details of the plan to take the steamers were left entirely to 
Spencer, who, having served as an engineer on one of the Transit 
boats, knew their crews personally, and was familiar with all the 
bends, shoals, and currents of the river. There was no other person 
who fulfilled these requirements so completely. Mora confided 
the plan to no one, but called for volunteers for an expedition to the 
Serapiqui River. The leaders chosen were all foreigners — Cap- 
tain (later Colonel) Cauty, an English officer. Colonel Barillier, a 
French Zouave, and Private Spencer, an American desperado. 

1 New York Herald, Dec. 25, 1856. 


The San Juan River has two important tributaries from the 
south ; the Serapiqui, which joins it at Hipp's Point about thirty- 
five miles above Greytown ; and the San Carlos, which enters the 
main stream about twenty-seven miles above the Serapiqui. Mora 
gave out the Serapiqui River as the destination of the expedition 
for the purpose of concealing its real object, and after the detach- 
ment of one hundred and twenty men had set out on the march 
orders came to the officers to proceed to the Rio San Carlos. Here 
on December 16 the men embarked in canoes and on rafts and 
floated into the San Juan, on the banks of which they encamped on 
the night of December 22, just two miles above Hipp's Point. At 
the latter spot were a detachment of Americans detailed to guard 
the river and prevent Costa Ricans from coming down the Sera- 
piqui. They did not dream of an attacking party coming down 
the San Juan, and were not on their guard. One detachment of 
Costa Ricans moved to the rear of the Americans on the Point, 
and placed a sentry in a tall tree to watch their movements. A 
second party approached them from the front, and at a given signal 
both detachments fell on them while they were at dinner and killed 
or captured the entire number. The Americans had posted no 
sentries, and were some distance from their guns, only four of 
which were taken from their racks during the melee and only two 
of which were fired. ^ 

The day before this, as one of the river steamers was en route 
to Greytown, with a number of Walker's officers on board, several 
men on the boat noted a number of strange rafts at the mouth of 
the San Carlos River, but no investigation was made, and the party 
went its way unheeding the danger that was so imminent. Among 
these officers were Lockridge and Rogers. The former was return- 
ing to the United States to continue garnering recruits for Walker, 

* It will be noted that Hipp's Point was captured and the effective blockade of the 
river begun on the very day that the Tennessee left New York with provisions and 
recruits. See above, p. 239. 


while Rogers was en route to Greytown to secure, in his capacity 
of confiscator-general, the printing outfit brought there by Kinney. 
Most of the equipment of El Nicaraguense had been destroyed 
in the burning of Granada. Had the officers examined the sus- 
picious-looking objects, the American post at Hippos Point would 
have been forewarned, Spencer's plans would have failed, and the 
history of Nicaragua might now read differently. 

After capturing Hipp's Point Spencer left a guard of forty men 
there and took his prisoners on to Greytown, where he arrived at 
two o'clock in the morning and seized four river steamers before 
daylight. The engineers and crews were for the most part willing 
to continue in service, after Spencer had promised to pay them 
well. The Costa Rican flag was hoisted over the boats, and they 
were taken up the San Juan. There was not an American war 
vessel in the harbour to whom the agent of Morgan and Garrison 
could appeal for the protection of American property. The 
American commercial agent, Mr. Cottrell, appealed to the com- 
mander of the large British squadron then in the harbour, but that 
officer declined to interfere, alleging that the property was in dis- 
pute betwen two parties, the agent of one of whom authorized the 
seizure, and he was not prepared to pass upon the merits of the 

In the meantime General Jose Joaquin Mora, brother of the 
president and commander-in-chief of the Costa Rican army, had 
followed Spencer to the San Carlos with a large force, proceeding 
with much difficulty, as the route was only a trail, overgrown so 
thickly in places with the rank tropical vegetation that the men 
had to cut their way through with machetes. As the march lay 
through an uninhabited region and over a trail too rough for ani- 
mals, the supplies had to be carried on the backs of men, and six 
hundred of them were used for this purpose. Mora reached the 
point of embarkation with eight hundred men, all well armed 
with Minie guns and fixed ammunition which had been sent 


by Vanderbilt. On his return trip up the San Juan Spencer 
stopped at the mouth of the San Carlos and sent one of the boats 
up this stream to bring down General Mora and his men. As the 
steamer approached the landing point a picket of Costa Ricans, 
stationed on a raft, were frightened nearly out of their wits by the 
strange craft, the like of which they had never seen, and in their 
terror plunged into the stream and were drowned. Mora took 
command and proceeded up the San Juan to Castillo Viejo, where 
he captured two more river steamers. Spencer now took the 
steamer used to cross the Toro Rapids, and continuing upstream 
found the Virgen anchored about thirty miles from the lake await- 
ing the return of Rogers from Greytown. Concealing his soldiers, 
he was able to bring his little craft alongside the lake steamer with- 
out arousing the slightest suspicion and easily secured possession. 
The next objective was Fort San Carlos, commanding the point 
where the lake debouches into the river. On approaching it 
Spencer gave the signal that all was well, which had been pre- 
arranged months before between the boats and forts and had never 
been changed. The commandant, Captain Kruger, at once put 
out in a boat, and the garrison all came down to the shore. The 
arrival of a steamer was a great event in their monotonous lives. 
The Costa Ricans on the Virgen were again concealed, and as 
Kruger's boat came alongside he called out to Spencer if Rogers 
were on board. Receiving an affirmative reply, he boarded the 
steamer and was at once told that he was a prisoner. It so hap- 
pened that Kruger was the only officer at the fort, and his capture 
left the post in the command of a sergeant. Spencer compelled 
Kruger, under a threat of death, to sign an order to the sergeant 
to deliver the post to the English officer, Captain Cauty, and Fort 
San Carlos thus fell into the hands of the Costa Ricans without 
the firing of a shot.^ 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 187, 196, 198 ; New York Times, March 9, 1867 ; 
Harper's Weekly, I., 312 ; Dublin Review, XLIII., 382-3. 


The San Juan River, from its source to its mouth, was now in the 
possession of the enemy, but Walker still retained the San Carlos, 
the larger and faster of the lake steamers, and thereby still con- 
trolled the lake. Spencer thought it unsafe to venture upon the 
lake so long as that steamer was in the hands of the filibusters, 
and he therefore dropped ten miles down the stream in the Virgen 
to await the coming of the other steamer. He had not many days 
to wait. On January 2, 1857, the steamer from San Francisco 
arrived at San Juan del Sur with her usual quota of passengers for 
the Atlantic States. These were duly transported over the Transit 
road to Virgin Bay and there placed aboard the San Carlos. The 
steamer crossed the lake, and on approaching the fort for which it 
was named it received the usual signal, given by Cauty's soldiers, 
that all was well. Seeing nothing to arouse suspicion, it boldly 
entered the river. It was now caught in a trap, being confronted 
by a river boat in the charge of Spencer and filled with armed 
Costa Ricans, and unable to return to the lake without passing 
under the hostile guns of the fort. Spencer demanded that the 
steamer surrender. Her captain, a Dane named Ericsson, was 
anxious to run the gauntlet of the fort and return to Virgin Bay, 
believing that the Costa Ricans could not damage the boat with 
their artillery, but a son-in-law of Charles Morgan's, named Harris, 
who chanced to be one of the passengers, forbade the attempt. 
The San Carlos was then surrendered, and the passengers were sent 
on to Greytown in one of the river boats. Here they met the 
recently arrived passengers and recruits who had come on the 
James Adger from New York and on the Texas from New Orleans. 
The eastward-bound passengers were sent home on the James 
Adger, and those bound for California, to the number of two hun- 
dred, were taken to Panama at Harris's expense and thence sent 
on to their destination. To send these to San Francisco cost 
Morgan and Garrison $25,000 in addition to their usual running 


General Mora, who had been reinforced by the arrival of a rear 
guard of three hundred, now embarked all his forces, except those 
needed to hold the posts on the river, on the two lake steamers 
and took possession of Virgin Bay. He was thus in easy communi- 
cation with the allies in Masaya, while Walker was cut off entirely 
from communication with the Caribbean and the United States 
on the east. Spencer's plans had succeeded in every particular. 
His master in Wall Street had now only to sit and gloat over the 
filibusters in their death struggle and over his steamship rivals 
in their utter confusion. Ten thousand dollars of his money was 
sent from San Jose to pay the officers and crew of the captured 
steamers and secure their loyalty to their new flag and masters. 
From General Mora came a perfervid address, giving no credit to 
the author of his success: "The main artery of filibusterism is 
divided forever. The sword of Costa Rica has severed it." ^ It 
was not the sword of Costa Rica, but the gold of Vanderbilt and 
the daring of Spencer that did the work. 

The real hero of the San Juan campaign deserves more than pass- 
ing notice. To all his associates and opponents he was known simply 
by his family name, and it was only after much research that he 
was found to bear the full name of Sylvanus H. Spencer. He 
would tell little of his past, but seemed fond of boasting, after his 
success on the river, that shortly before this exploit he was only a 
common workman.^ He gave as his chief reason for going against 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 177 ; Perez, Memorias, pt. 2, 177. An interesting 
story, first published twenty years after the events narrated above, and therefore of 
doubtful authenticity, is told in Gdmez, Historia de Nicaragua, 669 note. According 
to this account, Vanderbilt gave a dinner in New York to a number of prominent 
Spanish Americans, and when his guests, as a result of many toasts, were in a state 
of great exaltation he announced his purpose of putting an end to the filibusters. 
When asked how, he sent for Spencer. "Do you think it difficult to capture the 
steamers in Walker's service?" Vanderbilt asked. "I do not," replied Spencer. 
"Can you and will you accomplish this undertaking?" "I am at your service." 
Then, amidst the wonder and silence of his guests, the millionaire wrote a check 
lor $20,000 as his first contribution toward the achievement of Walker's destruction. 

* According to James Jeffrey Roche, Si)encer was a son of John Canfield Spencer, 
formerly Secretary of War, and was therefore a brother of the only American naval 
officer ever hanged for mutiny. Byways of War, 171. 


Walker the fact that he had inherited a large amount of stock in 
the old Transit Company, and that Walker's revocation of its 
charter had robbed him of all his property, which he was now try- 
ing to recover. As soon as he finished his work he returned to 
New York, his former home. His cruelty to the Costa Rican 
soldiers made them glad to be rid of his presence. Shortly after 
reaching Fort San Carlos General Mora wrote to his brother, the 
president, not to entrust Spencer with any military commissions, 
as he knew no tactics and could not manage the men, but to 
•^'occupy him in urging the house of Vanderbilt to help us with 
their influence and materials of war.'' ^ An attempt is noticeable 
on the part of a recent Costa Rican writer to belittle the work of 
Spencer and portray him merely as a guide, while ascribing all the 
■glory of the San Juan campaign to his own countrymen.^ Earlier 
Central American historians, however, have begrudged the Ameri- 
can none of his laurels. 

While Costa Rica held the river and lake, three contingents of 
recruits for Walker arrived at Greytown, and found themselves 
deprived of means of transportation into the interior. The first 
steamer to arrive was the Texas, bringing the detachment from New 
Orleans already described. When the vessel entered the harbour 
Spencer was there with one of the river boats and a party of Costa 
Ricans. The recruits were kept concealed below decks, and the 
rifles and ammunition were unpacked in preparation for seizing 
Spencer's boat at night. The plan was frustrated, however, by 
Captain Cockburn of H. M. S. Cossack, who came aboard the Texas 
and stated that while he was neutral in the matter of the Transit 
-dispute between two different parties of Americans, he would allow 
no bloodshed or destruction of property in waters under British 

^Harper's Weekly, I., 71, 199; New York Times, March 30, 1857; Wheeler 
Scrapbook no. 4, 210. 

* Sefior Manuel Caraao Peralta, in the introduction to his translation of Roche's 
Story of the Filibusters (San Jo86, 1908), says that the only American who took part 
jin the campaign was Spencer, "que hacia oficios de gula." 


protection. Spencer meanwhile had taken alarm and moved his 
boat into the shallow water upstream where the Americans could 
not follow.^ 

Among those now detained at Greytown as a result of Spencer's 
activities were many of Walker's best oflScers. Colonel Frank P. 
Anderson, of "the original fifty-six," was returning from a furlough 
granted him pending his recovery from a wounded arm. While 
at his home in Brooklyn his admirers had given a banquet in his 
honour and presented him with a sword. On the boat with him 
was Charles W. Doubleday, who was in Nicaragua when Walker 
first arrived, and soon joined the Phalanx. He had rendered valuable 
service on account of his knowledge of the country and people, but 
resigned after a disagreement with Walker, and now that his old 
chief was sorely pressed he had decided to return to his aid. With 
these came also General Robert Chatham Wheat, who had been 
captured in Cuba while following Lopez, and had served several 
months as a prisoner in Spain. Later he had participated in a 
revolution in Mexico, attaining the rank of brigadier-general and 
becoming military governor of Vera Cruz. He had attended col- 
lege with Walker's brother James at Nashville, and his desire to 
be with his countrymen caused him to resign his Mexican com- 
mission and go to Nicaragua. He never was able to join Walker, 
but lived to fight another day as colonel of the "Louisiana Tigers" 
during the Civil War. Colonel George B. Hall, son of a former 
mayor of Brooklyn, a veteran of the Mexican War, and Walker's 
commissary-general, was another of the detained oflScers, having 
been at home to recuperate from the fever. Still another was 
Captain J. Egbert Farnum, formerly of Pennsylvania, who had 
seen service both in the Mexican War and under Lopez. Hornsby, 
Norvell Walker, and Rogers, already mentioned several times in 
these pages, were also there. It will be seen, therefore, that 
Spencer had deprived Walker not only of his steamers but also of 
the services of some of his ablest officers. 

» Oliphant, Patriots and Filibusters, 183-6. ' 


Strange to say, these officers allowed the command of the 
stranded recruits at Greytown to devolve upon Lockridge, who, 
though given the rank of colonel, was commissioned only as a 
recruiting officer, and had seen no active service. It appears that 
as the recruits were regarded as still in transit and not yet in 
Walker's service, Lockridge was regarded as the proper man to 
take command, not by the other officers but by Harris, the agent 
and son-in-law of Charles Morgan, who was anxious to regain 
control of the Transit property and presumed to take the direction 
of matters into his own hands. The officers who outranked Lock- 
ridge volunteered to serve under him, and the recruits were quar- 
tered across the harbour from Greytown at Punta Arenas. The 
men were at once put to work patching up the old abandoned river 
steamer Rescue, which Spencer had not thought it worth while to 
capture, but their labours did not proceed without British inter- 
ference. When in Greytown, the men were continually approached 
by British sailors, who gave them terrible accounts of what to ex- 
pect if they persisted in going into the interior, and one morning 
in January Captain Cockburn came over with a boat's crew and 
ordered Lockridge to parade his men, stating that he intended to 
take away all British subjects who desired his protection. At the 
same time the guns of the Cossack were trained on the Point, and 
Lockridge must needs submit. When the men were drawn up, 
Cockburn made his offer, and some score of them stepped forward, 
though many of these pseudo-Britishers had a suspicious German 
accent instead of the expected Cockney or Irish brogue. The 
irrepressible Wheat, mounting a boat near by, hurled profane objur- 
gations at John Bull and his right of search, and challenged Cock- 
burn to a duel.^ 

In spite of such desertions, the force at Punta Arenas remained 
fairly intact, and perhaps was improved by the withdrawal of the 
faint-hearted. On February 4 the Texas came again, bringing 

1 Doubleday, Reminiscences, 178-81 ; Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 177. 


the long-expected Titus and one hundred and eighty of his "border' 
ruflBans." All the men were well supplied with arms and ammuni- 
tion, and the rickety steamboat was finally ready for the ascent of 
the river. The choice of a leader had been unfortunate. Lock- 
ridge, a tall, gaunt, stoop-shouldered Kentuckian of the Hoosier 
type, was anything but a soldier, and failed to win the confidence 
of his men or to stamp out by his authority petty jealousies and 
bickerings among his officers. Arriving before Hipp's Point, thef 
Americans drove out the Costa Rican garrison with great loss and 
regained possession. The credit for this success lay with Anderson, 
Doubleday, and Wheat. Castillo Viejo was the next point of 
attack, and Lockridge designated the Kansas company, a fine-look- 
ing but ill-disciplined body of men, for the work. Titus, swollen 
with pride over the newspaper notoriety he had attained in Kansas, 
refused to serve under anyone else, and therefore was sent alone in 
the steamer with his unorganized followers, while the tried and 
seasoned officers remained behind. Cauty was in command of 
Castillo, an historic fortress of the Spanish era, sitting on a high 
hill and commanding the river. In the previous century it had 
been attacked and captured by Horatio Nelson. As Titus 
approached the fort Cauty hastened to save the four steamboats 
moored below at the head of the rapids. Two of these were carried 
over successfully, and the two which proved unmanageable were 
set on fire and destroyed. Cauty, having only thirty men in the 
fort and a scant supply of ammunition, abandoned the lower 
works as soon as Titus came in sight. The latter took possession 
of these and also captured the steamer Scott, which had been 
set on fire after being taken over the rapids. The fire was 
extinguished by the Americans and the boat was cut adrift to 
float out of range of the guns on the hill. Cauty then set the last 
of his steamers on fire and sent it drifting down on the Scott, but 
the men boarded it and tied it to the bank, though they were unable 
to save the craft from burning. Titus now had the Englishman 


at his mercy and demanded his surrender. Cauty replied that 
he could surrender only with the consent of his commanding officer 
at Fort San Carlos, and asked for a twenty-four hours* truce in 
order to obtain the latter's permission. Titus, who knew nothing of 
war or military matters, gave his consent. Cauty had already 
sent for reinforcements, and before the truce expired these had 
arrived. Titus did not even wait to ascertain the number of rein- 
forcements, but fled down the river bank to his steamers and hastily 
reembarked. The Costa Ricans had now lost their four river 
steamers, but Castillo was defended more strongly than before. 
The Americans took up their post on San Carlos Island, some miles 
below Castillo Viejo, where they erected a stockade for defence 
against the enemy and built some rough sheds for the men^s quar- 
ters. The soldiers had been exposed for weeks to the heavy rains, 
and were surrounded on all sides with dense tropical swamps. Fever 
was rife ; discipline was conspicuous for its absence, and the men 
were in very low spirits. The return of Titus from his fiasco at 
Castillo increased the depression, and desertion cooperated with 
fever to thin the ranks. Titus was so much criticised that he gave 
up his command and announced his intention of going to Walker 
by way of Panama. Toward the middle of March one hundred 
and thirty fresh recruits from Texas and Louisiana arrived and 
brought the effective force to four hundred. The Louisiana com- 
pany consisted largely of foreigners recruited in New Orleans and 
was not a valuable accession, but the Texans, styling themselves 
the Alamo Rangers, were recruited from San Antonio and were a 
splendid body of men. They were commanded by Marcellus 
French, who has left us an account of his experiences.^ 

After this reinforcement Lockridge decided to renew his attempt 
to take Castillo Viejo and embarked his men for the attack. They 
landed, only to find that the Costa Ricans since the departure of 
Titus had made the place well-nigh impregnable. All the under- 

» See Overland Monthly, N. S., XXI., 517-23. 


growth had been cleared away from around the defences, and along 
the slopes of the hill they had constructed an abatis with felled 
trees. Wheat, Hornsby, and Doubleday all agreed that any attack 
on the strengthened works would fail. Nothing remained but to 
reembark and return to Grey town, and they left Castillo in the 
hands of the enemy without firing a shot. On stopping at the 
rapids, Lockridge assembled all his able-bodied men on the hurri- 
cane deck of the Scott and notified them that the expedition was 
disbanded and that officers and men were all on the same footing. 
He then called for volunteers who would join him in an effort to 
reach Walker at any hazard, either by way of Panama or by going 
up the Serapiqui and cutting through Costa Rica to San Juan del 
Sur. Some half a dozen officers and a hundred men responded. 
The others were placed on board the Rescue, which was already 
carrying two hundred sick, and were sent on to Greytown. As 
the Rescue, loaded to the water's edge with sick and despondent 
men, pulled away down the stream, Hornsby remarked, "I have 
been a soldier for twenty years, and this is the saddest sight I have 
ever witnessed." The Scott followed, and on approaching Hipp's 
Point both the steamers were stopped, and a reconnoitering party 
was landed to see whether the Costa Ricans had retaken the place 
while Lockridge's party were up the river. Most of the men on 
the Scott went ashore, and it was lucky that they did so, for the 
boiler of the steamer soon thereafter exploded, killing a number 
and badly injuring others, among them Anderson, Marcellus 
French, and Doubleday. Hornsby, Wheat, and Walker's brother 
Norvell were among those who escaped. The injured were placed 
on a barge which the Scott had in tow, and such as could be accom- 
modated on the Rescue, along with the sick already on that boat, 
were hurried to Greytown. Great was the disappointment of the 
men to learn that the Tennessee had left only two hours before 
for Aspinwall. English naval surgeons tendered their services, 
and as the Tennessee would call again at Greytown on her return 


to New York, Lockridge hurried back to bring the remainder of 
his command down the river and embark the whole force for home. 
Morgan had ordered the steamer to bring home any stranded fili- 
busters at Greytown who cared to return, and all of them had 
given up hope of joining Walker after the destruction of the Scott. 
As the Rescue returned to the harbour the men on board saw the 
Tennessee steaming out to sea and leaving them to they knew not 
what sort of a fate. A few moments before they had had visions 
of a fine steamer awaiting their arrival in order to take them back 
to civilization and the States. How bitter their disappointment 
now as they watched the hull disappear below the eastern horizon I 
There would not be another steamer for a month. The captain 
of the Tennessee had been urged to take all the Americans home, 
but would take only fifty, as he had orders to call at Key West 
and take on board a detachment of United States troops stationed 

The sufferings of the poor wretches, now quartered at Punta 
Arenas, were terrible. Greytown was too small a village to furnish 
subsistence, and the sick and injured could find no accommodation 
there even when they chanced to have money to pay for it. The 
villagers even appealed to the British ships for protection against 
the men, many of whom were becoming desperate, and guards 
were stationed to prevent their entering the place without permis- 
sion from the authorities. Credit, however, must be given to a 
few of the residents, who took into their homes some of the officers 
injured in the explosion of the Scott and nursed them to recovery 
without hope of any earthly reward.^ Many of the men died from 
exposure and lack of food and medical care. To make matters 
worse, Cauty in his sole remaining river steamer came down the 
San Juan with a detachment of Costa Ricans, and it looked as if 

1 Among these good Samaritans was a Miss Roberts, a native of New York, who 
looked after the injuries of French and Lieutenant Sistere of Louisiana. Double- 
day was cared for by a family of kind-hearted Germans. 



the dispirited Americans would be attacked and extenninated. 
The British squadron, however, quickly threw a line of small boats 
between the Costa Rican steamer and the Point, and hauled the 
Rescue alongside a man-of-war, thus reiterating the determination 
of its commander to permit no hostilities or destruction of property 
in Greytown harbour. The British senior officer. Captain Cock- 
burn, now summoned Cauty and J. N. Scott, Morgan and Gar- 
rison's agent, to a conference, and announced his intention to take 
the men away. He asked Scott to draw on Morgan for the cost 
of their passage and the agent reluctantly agreed to do so. As 
security for the draft the Americans were required to give up 
their arms as well as the steamer Rescue, and the men to the num- 
ber of 375 were then taken aboard the Cossack and carried to 
Aspinwall. Cockburn there tried to get passage on the mail 
steamer for the United States, but met with difficulties. In the 
first place the agent refused to honour Scott's draft on Morgan ; 
Cockburn then offered to make himself individually responsible 
for twenty dollars a head for two hundred of the men and would 
raise the rest of the money by the sale of the arms given to him as 
security. Again there was objection : an epidemic of measles had 
appeared among the filibusters, and the steamer would not carry 
the men for any consideration. The municipal authorities refused 
to allow the Americans to land, declaring that they did not desire 
to be overrun with such vagabonds, and refused their hospital to 
the sick. Yea, they even refused permission to bury the dead on 
shore, and the sea alone seemed willing to receive their festering, 
vermin-ridden bodies. The survivors were finally taken to New 
Orleans on Her Majesty's Ship Tartar} 

Since the Transit could not be recovered, the withdrawal by 
Morgan and Garrison of their ocean steamers was inevitable. 

* MS., Archives, Navy Department, Home Squadron, II., 27 fif. ; New Orleans 
Ddta, April 28, 1867 ; New York Tribune, May 7, 1867 ; Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 


Neither recruits nor supplies could reach Walker by way of Grey- 
town, and passengers between New York and California could no 
longer be carried by the Nicaraguan route. There was nothing, 
therefore, for the steamship company to do but to dock its ships 
and leave Walker to his fate. This was done in April, 1857, and the 
end was then only a matter of days. Vanderbilt's man had suc- 
ceeded in doing what the allied Central American States could not 
iaccomplish. It was American capitalists who set up the filibuster 
regime in Nicaragua, and it was an American capitalist who pulled 
it down. 

It is worthy of note that one of Walker's officers possessed pluck 
enough to rejoin his chief in spite of the blockade of the river and 
lake. This was Rogers, the confiscator-general. Instead of fol- 
lowing Lockridge, he embarked for Aspinwall, crossed to Panama, 
and finding no steamer for San Juan del Sur he hired a boat and 
two men, ostensibly to cross over to the Pearl Islands, some fifty 
miles away, but really to go the entire five hundred miles to San 
Juan del Sur. No boatman would have consented to make such 
a trip, and hence the necessity of Rogers' deception. After taking 
enough provisions on board for several days' journey Rogers 
started, and when some distance from shore he drew a brace of 
pistols and made the boatmen steer straight for the open sea and 
Walker. And so he sat, watching the men day and night, with 
weapons always at hand, not daring to doze even a moment, until 
his unwilling crew brought him safely into the harbour of San Juan 
del Sur. Rogers had in him the stuff of which real filibusters are 
made. In addition, he was an Irishman. We may condemn the 
wild ways of such men, but we at least must admit that the race 
from which they came was not degenerate. The blood in their 
veins flowed red.^ 

1 Oliphant, Patriots and Filibusters, 226-7. Oliphant was a fellow passenger of 
Rogers as far as Panama, and was invited by the latter to join him in this venture. 
New York Times, March 9, 1857. 

In the Last Ditch 

About the time that Spencer began his operations on the San 
Juan, Walker began the concentration of his forces at Rivas. 
This was a small city with thick-walled adobe houses, and had 
already been used as a fortress by the Costa Ricans in their inva- 
sion of the preceding spring. It was well adapted for defensive 
operations. To the east, a league distant, lay the village of San 
Jorge on the shores of Lake Nicaragua. To the south lay the 
Transit road, to which three diverging trails led from Rivas like a 
fan, giving the Americans control over this highway. The total 
American force established here amounted on January 3, 1857, 
to 919, of whom 197 were reported as sick. Those detailed for 
duty with the commissary and other departments and those on 
detached services of various kinds further reduced the number 
available for service in the line to 518. A fortnight after the occu- 
pation of Rivas the San Carlos left Virgin Bay with its passengers 
from California, as the Americans were still ignorant of Spencer's 
capture of all the other steamers. As the days passed and neither 
of the lake steamers reappeared, the men at Rivas began to feel 
uneasy, but still no one dreamed that the enemy could have taken 
all the boats, and it was thought that one of them would surely 
have brought back the news if the Costa Ricans had really been 
seen on the river. The more optimistic therefore ascribed the 
delay to other causes easily imaginable in connection with the 
transfer of passengers to and from Greytown. 

For days and days they watched and waited, but no steamer 



appeared. Then one day the long expected San Carlos was seen 
coming across the lake and apparently headed for Virgin Bay, but 
as it drew near the landing place it failed to give the usual signals 
or to return those given from the shore. Instead, it only took a 
look at the place and then headed due north. Many of the Ameri- 
cans residing there immediately gathered a few belongings in their 
carpet-bags and started for San Juan del Sur as fast as their feet 
could carry them, in the hope of taking the California steamer, 
still waiting there to make its connection with the steamer on the 
Atlantic. A detachment of soldiers was hastily sent to Virgin 
Bay to prevent the enemy's landing. There they waited for a week, 
with no sign or news of the Costa Ricans, until the San Carlos 
again appeared and moored off Ometepe in full sight of the soldiers 
at Virgin Bay. A few mornings later they awoke to see the Virgen 
also there, and the full truth then was known.^ Both the lake 
steamers and presumably all the river craft were in the hands of 
the enemy. It was not till the 24th of January that definite word 
reached Walker by way of Panama of what had actually occurred 
on the San Juan.^ 

Shortly before Spencer began his exploits a small schooner had 
been brought up the river from Greytown and was being repaired for 
use on the lake when the steamers appeared off Ometepe. Walker 
now consulted Fayssoux as to the feasibility of employing this 
vessel in an effort to retake the steamers. Some of the men were 
anxious to cross over to Ometepe in the schooner on some night 
when the wind was favourable and seize the steamers in the dark- 
ness. Fayssoux, however, thought it useless to make the attempt, 
and the schooner was burned to prevent her capture by the enemy. 

General Mora made no effort to communicate with the allies at 
Masaya until he had brought his entire force to San Carlos and 
made the defence of the river secure. The allies were almost on 

1 "Experience of Samuel Absalom, Filibuster," Atlantic Monthly , IV., 651-66. 

2 War in Nicaragua, 371. 


the point of abandoning the campaign when they received word 
of the Costa Rican successes. As these gave Mora and Canas a 
preponderating influence in the counsels of the alUes, Canas 
became chief in command, and an immediate advance upon 
Walker's position was begun. Henningsen in the meantime had 
been putting Rivas in a state of defence. Walker still con- 
templated acting on the offensive but desired that the town should 
be put in such a condition that a small garrison could hold it and 
protect his military stores while he marched forth with most of 
his forces to give battle to the enemy. Small huts on the out- 
skirts of the town were burned down and the dense tropical under- 
growth was cleared away lest^the enemy should find shelter therein. 
New barricades were built and old ones strengthened. Colonel 
Swingle set up workshops in the town and secured a small steam 
engine from San Juan del Sur, by means of which he was enabled 
to construct a foundry to make cannon balls, perhaps the first ever 
cast in Nicaragua. All the bells in the vicinity of Rivas were 
collected and cast into solid shot. 

On January 26 the allies occupied the small village of Obraje, 
about three miles north of Rivas and fortified themselves so 
strongly there that Henningsen advised against attacking them 
in force. Two days later they moved to San Jorge on the lake, 
where they could communicate with Mora. This village, too, 
they rapidly barricaded.^ On the 29th Henningsen and Sanders 
were sent to drive them out. There was jealousy, however, on 
the part of Sanders and other oflBcers toward Henningsen, and the 
commands of the two men became separated. A number of 
officers, too, had imbibed too freely before going into action, and 
their heads were so muddled with aguardiente that they could not 
understand their orders or execute them correctly. The attack 

* "The rapidity with which Central American troops throw up barricades is 
almost incredible, and long practice has made them more expert at such work than 
even a Paris mob." War in Nicaraoua, 375. 


failed, and Walker lost eighty of the four hundred men engaged. 
The enemy outnumbered the Americans five to one, and were so 
strongly intrenched that success would have been impossible unless 
the proportion of Americans to allies had been reversed. Owing to 
the jealousy of Henningsen, Walker recalled him, and on February 4 
took charge himself of an attack on San Jorge, which was made 
at four o'clock in the morning with two hundred men. Again it 
proved impossible to send the men over the barricades, and again 
the Americans suffered losses they could ill afford — twenty-five 
men, including several of the best officers. 

President Mora now resorted to new tactics to compass the 
downfall of the filibusters. A year before, when he invaded Nica- 
ragua, he had threatened all filibusters with death who were taken 
with arms in their hands. This had only strengthened the Ameri- 
cans in their resistance, and had caused them to fight all the more 
fiercely. He now scattered printed proclamations in the outskirts 
of Rivas, promising protection and a free passport home to all 
who should desert Walker. No longer was he seeking to destroy 
all invaders, but only their leader. In 1856 he had declared war 
on all filibusters ; in 1857 he was making war on only one. The 
effects of Mora's proclamation quickly appeared. Desertion 
became an epidemic. It was most common among the Cali- 
fornians, whose freer life in the West had made them less amenable 
to the rigoiu-s of military discipline than were the troops from the 
Atlantic States. Recruits came only from San Francisco, after 
the closure of the San Juan River, and many of these, grievously 
disappointed at finding conditions not at all as they had been 
represented, and feeling in no way bound by honour to serve what 
seemed to be a dying cause, went over to the enemy at the first 
opportunity. There were no ties to bind them to Walker like those 
that bound the survivors of the "original fifty-six," and other 
early comers. 

With each repulse of the Americans the enemy grew bolder and 


fought with more confidence. They now came out from their 
barricades, and on March 5 appeared on the Transit road and 
inflicted a severe defeat upon Walker's Rifles, commanded by 
Sanders and Waters, who had been sent to drive them back to 
San Jorge. This time both sides were about equal in numbers 
(160 Rifles and 200 allies), and the effect of the defeat was therefore 
very depressing upon the Americans. Seeing that something must 
be done to revive the drooping spirits of his followers, Walker now 
planned to throw his entire strength upon the enemy at San Jorge 
in one final effort to dislodge them from their position. Four 
hundred men were all he could muster for the purpose. Henning- 
sen brought out all the available artillery, seven guns of various 
patterns. The march on the village began at two o'clock on the 
morning of March 16, and at daybreak the artillery opened the 
combat. The fire drove the enemy from the plaza, and they moved 
out in large numbers through the dense vegetation, so as to place 
themselves in Walker's rear and prevent his return to Rivas. This 
necessitated Walker's facing about and giving battle on the road 
leading back to his headquarters. The allies had tried to enter 
Rivas during his absence, but were held at bay by Swingle. Half 
a mile from the centre of the town, however, they had erected 
a barricade, and it required a day's fighting before the whole 
force with its artillery and the wounded could be brought 
back to the starting-point. Seventy-six of the four hundred were 
killed or wounded, and the Americans had nothing to show for 
the attack. The allies still held San Jorge, and were receiving 
constant reinforcements, while the strongest force that could be 
sent against them narrowly escaped being surrounded and wiped 
out. With the affair of March 16 Walker shot his last bolt. 
Henceforth he remains strictly on the defensive. While the allies 
in nearly every encounter suffered much heavier losses than the 
Americans, they could afford to lose five men to Walker's one and 
still fight on equal terms. 


On March 23, just a week later, the enemy took the offensive 
and attacked the Americans in Rivas just before daybreak. The 
allies were driven back with heavy loss and Canas' four-pound 
gun, which had been handled with much skill by an Italian gunner, 
was captured and taken into the town. The allies also employed 
two antiquated twenty-four pounders of the Spanish days, which 
had been brought across the lake. At infrequent intervals they 
dropped solid shot into the plaza. Swingle took these, re-cast 
them into six-pound shot, and fired them back at the enemy. 

A roster of the forces, sent by Walker to Edmund Randolph 
on the following day, shows that there were all told some eight 
hundred people in Rivas, of whom 332 were men fit for duty in the 
line and 224 were sick or wounded. The remainder consisted of 
ordnance, commissary and hospital employees, discharged soldiers, 
and citizens. Walker stated that a very slight blow would dis- 
lodge the enemy, but as he did not wish to lose men unnecessarily 
he would merely occupy the town and wait for something definite 
from Lockridge. He had sent word to the latter by way of Panama 
to join him at Rivas, and did not wish to evacuate the place as long 
as a hope remained that the Americans on the river would succeed 
in forcing its passage.^ 

It was now impossible for foraging parties to go very far from 
Rivas, as they were likely to fall into an ambush. On March 27 
the besieged got their first taste of mule meat.^ The first mules 
were killed secretly at night along with some oxen, and no one 
suspected the nature of his diet. On the next day, however, the 
secret was discovered, and a number refused their meat until told 
that they had already been eating it unawares. Along with mule 
meat the men received plantains and chocolate. The animals 
were fed on the leaves of mango trees. It was not mule meat or 
twenty-four-pound guns that did most to depress the men at Rivas, 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 235. 

^ Jamison, With Walker in Nicaragua, 164 ; New Orleans Delta, May 28, 1857. 


but the constant desertions to the enemy. Some of those who 
deserted on Mora's promise of protection threw notes within 
Walker's lines notifying their comrades that the Costa Ricans 
were doing all for them that had been promised. These notes 
sometimes reached their destination and greatly increased the 
desertions. The last company to arrive from California, the Red 
Star Guards, numbered seventy when it reached Nicaragua on 
March 7, but early in April only twelve were left.^ 

The Americans suspected that the allies would choose the anni- 
versary of the second battle of Rivas, April 11, for another attack 
on the town, and shortly before dawn on this date their suspicions 
were confirmed. The enemy fell upon the town at three different 
points, but were everywhere repulsed. A body of recruits from 
Guatemala, which had arrived on the previous day, went into 
action in entire ignorance of the range of rifles and were sent so 
close to the American lines that the defenders were almost moved 
with pity as they shot them down. Walker lost only three killed 
and six wounded, while the allies lost between 600 and 800. As 
Walker had no food for his enemy's wounded left within his lines 
after the attack was repulsed, he sent these back to the allies 
under a flag of truce. During the fighting the Americans also 
captured seventy uninjured prisoners. Walker proposed to 
exchange these for beef cattle, but the allies rejected the offer. He 
next proposed that the allies feed these prisoners while they were 
in his custody. This proposition they also declined, as the enemy 
had reason to doubt whether the food they sent would reach those 
for whom it was intended. The action of April 11 was the last 
engagement of the war with the allies. The fighting thereafter 
consisted only of desultory firing and skirmishing between 
advanced posts and detachments. 

On the night after the attack Walker despatched Captain Han- 

1 The captain of this company has left an account of its short and inglorious 
career. See William Frank Stewart, Last of the Filibusters. (Sacramento, 1857.) 


kins and two native boys to San Juan del Sur to get the mail from 
Panama. Hankins retm-ned on the 14th riding a horse, which 
was a welcome addition to the food supply. This incident shows 
that the enemy had made no effort to invest the entire town, and 
that the whole force could have marched from Rivas to the Pacific 
coast without let or hindrance. In fact, it was this very thing 
that Walker had planned to do as soon as the exhaustion of his 
supplies made it impossible longer to hold Rivas. He remained 
in the town partly on account of Lockridge, whom he had ordered 
to join him there, and partly because he was unwilling to leave 
several hundred sick and wounded to fall into the hands of the 
allies. It was his purpose, if it became necessary to abandon 
Rivas, to march to San Juan del Sur and place his effective force 
on board the Granada, which was now well supplied with munitions 
of war. Hankins brought letters notifying Walker of the arrival 
of the Alamo Rangers and a Mobile company on the San Juan to 
reinforce Lockridge. This gave some encoiu-agement, but he also 
brought letters from New York announcing that Morgan and 
Garrison had definitely decided to withdraw their ocean steamers 
from the Nicaraguan service. Even, therefore, if Lockridge's 
efforts should be successful, no further reinforcements from the 
United States could be expected until other arrangements for 
transportation could be effected, and it was evident that the days 
of the filibuster regime were numbered. 

Walker attributes his abandonment by the steamship company 
to weakness and timidity, and declares that while he expected 
Morgan and Garrison to remain loyal to him only so long as their 
interests required it, he at least expected them to display more 
boldness and sagacity than they exhibited during this period of 
crisis.^ As a matter of fact, however, these men showed good 
judgment in realizing the futility of further fighting with Vander- 
bilt, and as their steamers could no longer be used except to convey 

* War in Nicaragua, 408-9. 


recruits and supplies to Walker, now leading a forlorn hope, their 
withdrawal of the ships was not only necessary as a matter of 
business policy, but was also an act of humanity. Every addi- 
tional recruit was doomed to much suffering and perhaps to death, 
and could be lured to the country only by deception. It was not 
through treachery of Morgan and Garrison that Walker's cause 
was lost. Their steamers remained in service on the Pacific for 
more than three months after the closure of the Transit, and from 
the Atlantic ports they also brought recruits as long as any hope 
remained of reopening the river. 

Another actor now appeared on the scene. Early in February 
the United States sloop-of-war St. Mary's, Commander Charles H. 
Davis, had arrived at San Juan del Sur. Davis had received 
instructions on January 19, 1857, from Commodore Mervine at 
Panama to proceed to San Juan del Sur and take such steps as 
circumstances required for the protection of American citizens 
and their property during the unsettled state of affairs in Nicara- 
gua.^ Shortly after Davis's arrival the allies asked him to prevent 
the further landing of recruits for Walker at San Juan del Sur, 
alleging that such an act would be in complete conformity with the 
policy of the American government, which on numerous occasions 
had prevented the departure of expeditions from the United States. 
Davis replied that while the officers of his government were bound 
to enforce the neutrality laws within the jurisdiction of the United 
States, this did not mean that naval officers must enforce such laws 
within the territory of foreign powers. He stated further that his 
government recognized a condition of civil war in Nicaragua and 
was neutral as between the parties thereto. As a neutral he would 
lend his aid to neither party, but would see that the property and 
lives of American citizens were duly protected. 

In protecting American property Davis showed commendable 
zeal. An American vessel, the Narragansett, was in the port of 

1 House Ex. Doc. 2, 36 Cong., 1 Sees. Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 203. 


San Juan del Sur at the time of the capture of the lake steamers. 
Walker took possession of her boats and put them on the lake with 
the idea of using them to regain possession of the steamers. Davis 
secured their return. A band of Costa Ricans at San Juan del Sur 
fired on a party of sailors from Morgan and Garrison's steamer 
Orizaba. They had been sent ashore to obtain water, and one of 
the sailors was made a prisoner. Davis intervened and secured 
his release.^ On April 24 Davis sent Lieutenant Huston and a 
corporal of marines into Rivas, after securing the consent of the 
belligerents, to remove the women and children to San Juan del 
Sur under the protection of the American flag. 

While this was in progress a truce was declared, and the opposing 
forces mingled freely around the outer barricades. The natives 
gave the Americans aguardiente and tobacco, which were boons to 
those who were addicted to their use, and they probably persuaded 
many doubting Thomases to desert. At any rate, the desertions 
became even more common thereafter, and during the following 
week amounted to from fifteen to twenty per day. Even one of 
the surgeons in the hospital deserted and at night came within 
speaking distance of the barricades and urged all who could to 
join the enemy, assuring them good treatment and pledging his 
honour as a Mason that the enemy would not molest the sick and 
wounded Americans if Rivas were taken .^ It was this last con- 
sideration which had caused numbers of filibusters still to remain 
loyal. The fear that the enemy would butcher their sick and 
wounded comrades, as the Costa Ricans had done the year before, 
had nerved many with a resolve to fight to the death. Titus, the 
"border ruffian," who after his fiasco at Castillo Viejo had joined 
Walker by way of Panama, Bostick, Walker's secretary of state, 
and Bell, major in the infantry, were among those who went over 
to the enemy's camp. The bad example set by the officers had 
its effect on the men. Some of the deserters were so inconsiderate 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 229. * Ibid., p. 212. 


as to take their horses with them, thus materially reducing the 
scant provisions. Titus and other deserters night after night 
mounted the allies' barricades and called on their comrades to 
come and join them, sometimes singling them out by name, and 
regaling the starving men with accounts of an abundance of food, 
tobacco and aguardiente. The Americans were not fighting for 
their native country ; very few were fighting for aught but adven- 
ture — a cause hardly to be regarded as sacred — and it is not 
surprising that they availed themselves of the opportunity to escape 
the torments of hunger and of thirst for strong drink, which most 
of them possessed, and escaped during the heavy night rains to 
the camp of their erstwhile foe. Walker at length issued a proc- 
lamation that all who wished to leave might do so by applying to 
him for their passports. This would prevent their being regarded 
as deserters. Only five men availed themselves of this opportu- 
nity, and as they left the town they were hissed and hooted as long 
as they were in hearing. The courage of one of these failed him 
and he turned back, but Walker compelled him to go on. 

On April 28 Walker visited the men at their quarters and 
assured them that he had received news from Lockridge, and that 
the latter was expected to arrive at almost any time. It was known 
that Walker had received letters that day, and the men hoped 
that what he told them was true. Nothing occurred, however, 
except desultory firing until the evening of the 30th, when a letter 
came to Walker from Commander Davis, borne by an aide of 
General Mora. Davis had come to the conclusion that Walker's 
position was no longer tenable, and had visited the allies in the 
capacity of mediator, proposing to end the conflict by removing 
the Americans from the country. Mora, who had twice been 
beaten back from his assault on Rivas, according to his own 
statement had concluded that it would cost too much blood to 
take the place by assault and had found the opposing force much 
stronger than he had been led to believe. He had just resolved 


to starve Walker into surrendering when Davis intervened, and 
stated that if the Americans would be spared he would compel 
Walker to surrender. In return for sparing their lives, Mora was 
to receive all the elements of war at Rivas and San Juan del Sur.^ 
The proposition of Davis was readily consented to by the allies, 
as it achieved all they were contending for without further fighting 
or expense. Davis then sent to Walker the letter just referred to. 
Several messages were exchanged before negotiations were finally 
undertaken. Early in the night the preliminaries were arranged, 
and Walker sent Henningsen and Waters as envoys to Davis in 
the camp of the allies. The naval officer told them that he had 
full knowledge of Walker's situation, and that they could hold out 
only a few days longer at the most. He told them also that 
Lockridge had abandoned the San Juan campaign and returned to 
the United States, and that no more steamers would come to San 
Juan del Sur. He knew that the Americans lacked food and were 
deserting in large numbers, and he proposed that the survivors 
should surrender to him and that Walker and sixteen officers that 
he might select should go aboard the *S^. Mary's and proceed to 
Panama, while the other officers and the men were to be taken to 
Panama by another route, accompanied by a United States officer 
and protected by the American flag. Henningsen was inclined at 
first to demur, stating that it was not yet certain that Lockridge 
had abandoned the river, and that if he had Walker could easily 
cut his way out of Rivas and embark at San Juan del Sur on the 
Granada. Davis then announced that he would not allow the 
schooner to leave the port, but intended taking possession of her 
before he left San Juan del Sur. The conference lasted until two 
o'clock in the morning, when Henningsen and Waters returned to 
Rivas, promising to give Davis Walker's answer the next morning 
at ten, if negotiations were not broken off. 

1 Mora's oflBcial report was copied in a number of American papers from the San 
Jos6 Cronica. Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 215. 


Davis's announcement of his determination to seize the Granada, 
thus cutting off all hope of escape, made his proposition nothing 
less than an ultimatum to which Walker must agree or perish. 
Articles of capitulation were therefore drawn up at Walker's 
headquarters, embodying the propositions made by Davis and 
containing an additional provision for the protection of Walker's 
native allies, about whom nothing had been said at the conference. 
Walker declared that he would sign no agreement that did not con- 
tain stipulations for their protection. With these articles Hen- 
ningsen returned to Davis at the appointed hour. They met his 
approval, and Henningsen then went back to get Walker's signa- 
ture. While in conference with Davis Henningsen avoided the 
oflBcers of the allies, merely exchanging common courtesies with 
two of them and taking pains to show that he was treating only 
with the American commander. Waters was sent to Davis with 
the papers and remained until Walker notified him that he was 
ready to leave. 

Meanwhile the arsenal and cannon were destroyed by Henning- 
sen's orders. The engine, fan, and cupola of the foundry were 
demolished. Thirteen guns were made useless by breaking their 
trunnions and sawing through their carriages, and 1500 pounds of 
powder, 55,000 cartridges, and 300,000 percussion caps were thrown 
into wells. It was not for lack of munitions of war that the fili- 
busters surrendered. Only the small arms and some six hundred 
solid shot and shell for the artillery remained undestroyed. 

At five o'clock in the afternoon of May 1 Davis and Zavala 
entered the plaza, the latter for the purpose of acting as a personal 
escort of Walker and his officers through the lines of the allies. 
The men were drawn up in the plaza and Walker's last order (no. 
59) was read to them. In this Walker stated that he had entered 
into the present agreement on the solemn assurance that Lockridge 
had abandoned efforts for their relief and returned to the United 
States. He then declared that he parted with them for the present 


and expressed his thanks to the officers and men under his com- 
mand, declaring that they were reduced to their " present position 
by the cowardice of some, the incapacity of others, and the treachery 
of many," but that "the army has yet written a page of American 
history which it is impossible to forget or erase. From the future, 
if not from the present, we may expect just judgment." After 
this farewell address the text of the agreement between Walker and 
Davis was read. Henningsen then stepped forward and announced 
to the men that they were under the control of Commander Davis 
and under the protection of the American flag, and that they would 
be expected to yield to the naval officer the same implicit obedience 
that they had rendered to their commander-in-chief. Henningsen 
then formally turned over the garrison to Davis, and the latter also 
spoke to the men, asking them to assist him in carrying out his 
arduous labours. The sailor and the filibuster then repaired to 
Walker's headquarters but found them unoccupied. While the 
proceedings just narrated were taking place. Walker and his chosen 
officers had procured horses and taken the road to San Juan del 
Sur, accompanied by General Zavala.^ 

Walker's early departure was much resented by the rank and file, 
who felt that their leader was deserting them in their hour of 
misery and thinking of his own safety first of all. Like the captain 
of a sinking ship, he should have stood by till the last person was 
saved. Instead, he was the first to seek safety and left a third of 
his followers sick and wounded. That he chose to return home by 
a different route from theirs also aroused unfavourable comment, 
and some of his critics stated that he was afraid to face any but his 
most trusted officers after all restraint of military discipline had 
been removed. Walker's seeming desertion of his followers was 
made all the more apparent shortly after the soldiers of the allies 
marched into the plaza at Rivas. He had given no promise to 
Davis concerning the arsenal and its contents, and it is probable 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 202 ; War in Nicaragua, 421-7. 


that the latter did not even suspect its existence. The allies, 
however, chose to regard the destruction of the arsenal as a base 
violation of the capitulation, and their soldiers were so enraged 
when they discovered what had been done that their officers had 
difficulty in preventing them from venting their wrath upon the 
now helpless filibusters.^ The allies, however, had no cause for 
anger, as Walker had not surrendered to them but to the com- 
mander of an American man-of-war, who had made no stipulations 
as to the disposition of the armament other than that the enlisted 
men were to give up their arms while all the officers were to retain 
their side arms, and Walker and his sixteen chosen officers were to 
retain their pistols also. It is worthy of note, too, that the articles 
provided that those who had remained faithful to Walker should 
not be sent home in company with any who had deserted. 

At the time of the capitulation the filibusters still had on hand 
enough food to sustain them for two or three days ; namely, two 
oxen, two mules, and about a thousand pounds of sugar. For more 
than a month horse and mule meat, sugar and chocolate, had been 
their steady diet. A few mangoes were sometimes gathered at 
great risk in the outskirts of the town ; but as many who intended 
to desert allowed themselves to be "captured" while gathering 
this fruit, those who desired their loyalty to be above suspicion 
staid away from the mango groves. 

The total number who surrendered at Rivas was 463, grouped 
as follows : officers and enlisted men fit for duty, 164 ; wounded, 
sick, surgeons, and hospital attendants, 173 ; departmental 
employees and armed citizens, 86; native troops, 40.^ These 
figures speak more eloquently than words of the extent of death, 
disease, and desertion during the siege of Rivas. When Walker 
gathered his men there for a final stand his total force amounted to 

» Statement of General John T. McGrath. See also Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 

> Henningsen'a report in Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, p. 202. 


919. On the 1st of February he received forty recruits from Cali- 
fornia and on the 7th of March seventy more. There were thus 
1026 men shut up in Rivas ; and as only 463 remained when Walker 
surrendered, the total number of deaths and desertions in four 
months amounted to 566, or 55 per cent, of the entire force. It 
is noteworthy that forty natives remained with Walker to the end. 
Their service was purely voluntary. Unlike the Central American 
generals. Walker never forced a native to serve in his ranks, and it 
was their freedom from conscription which caused the poorer classes 
at first to regard him as a deliverer. Opposition to the Americans 
in Nicaragua was for a long time confined to the upper classes, or 
calzados (those wearing shoes). It was only when the Rangers 
came and carried away their horses, mules, cattle, and provender 
that the poorer natives turned against the filibuster o. The Ran- 
gers' visit meant impoverishment, which was worse than the hated 
conscription of their internecine warfare. Native commanders, it 
is true, had impressed supplies, but their demands were far less 
exacting than those of the Americans. The wants of the native 
soldiery were few and simple ; they could fare well on plantains 
and tortillas in amounts that would have caused a filibuster to 
die of slow starvation. The American, on the other hand, 
demanded his beef every day, and consumed what the native 
would regard as an enormous quantity of food and drink. His 
appetite thus led to the plundering of a province. 

The Nicaraguans under Walker at Rivas frequently conversed 
with their fellow countrymen at the opposing barricades during 
a lull in the firing. Some of those with the allies told their com- 
patriots on the other side that they were aggarados (caught) and 
compelled to serve at the barricades, and Walker states that there 
was no firing on Rivas from the barricade at which the Leonese 
were stationed.' 

Walker and his chosen staff of officers, with the exception of 

1 War in Nicaragua, 412. 


Henningsen, took up their quarters on board the St. Mary's on the 
night following the surrender. Davis did not arrive until the 
following morning, when he proposed that Walker should surrender 
the Granada to him without the necessity of using force. The 
agreement had made no mention of the schooner, and Walker 
declined to surrender the vessel. Davis, however, would listen 
to none of his arguments and ordered his first lieutenant, Maury, 
to seize the craft. The officer boarded the Granada and ordered 
Fayssoux to surrender. The doughty captain replied that he 
would do so only in the face of a superior force. The guns of the 
St. Mary's were then turned on the schooner, and the boats of the 
warship were manned with armed sailors. Maury now told 
Walker that if he desired to avoid bloodshed he should order 
Fayssoux to surrender. The fallen filibuster then wrote Fayssoux 
this note: "Deliver the Granada to the United States." Soon 
thereafter the Nicaraguan flag came down to be replaced by that 
of the United States, and the Nicaraguan navy was no more. To 
make the filibuster cup of bitterness full, Davis on May 4, the 
second anniversary of the sailing of the Vesta, turned the vessel 
over to the Costa Ricans, and the officer who took charge of her 
was a Jamaica negro, an aide to General Canas. Shortly thereafter 
the schooner was loaded with Guatemalan troops and anchor was 
weighed for Realejo. A storm drove the vessel ashore, and she 
was a total loss, though the troops were saved. Thus ended the 
brief career of the first Nicaraguan man-of-war.^ 

The only authority which Davis possessed for his intervention 
was his instructions from Mervine to protect the persons and 
property of American citizens. The Secretary of the Navy, how- 
ever, had sent directions to Mervine to give Walker and such of 
his followers as were citizens of the United States an opportunity 
to retreat from Nicaragua, but Davis had acted before these 

1 Walker's letter to Buchanan in Washington States. June 17, 1857 ; War in 
Nicaragua, 428-9. 


instructions were received. The Navy Department approved all 
that Davis had done except his seizure of the Granada and delivery 
of the vessel to one of the belligerents.^ The survivors of the 
expedition, to the number of 364, were sent to Panama, where they 
were cared for by Mervine. The women and children, whom 
Davis had removed from Rivas during the hostilities, had been 
placed in the house of the American consul at San Juan del Sur, 
and the officers of the St. Mary's had contributed between four 
hundred and five hundred dollars for their maintenance. These, 
with the sick and wounded and the officers Walker had left behind, 
were taken to Greytown, where English surgeons from the Orion 
assisted in caring for the ill. The American wsirship Cyane took 
the entire party, numbering 142, including thirteen women and 
five children, to Aspinwall, where they arrived on June 16. The 
Orion preceded them and again offered its aid. Commodore 
Hiram Paulding, commanding the vessels stationed in Caribbean 
waters, endeavoured to obtain passage for them to New York 
on some regular steamer, but the steamship company would agree 
to take them only as far as New Orleans. The surgeons insisted 
that they should be taken to a more northerly climate, and Pauld- 
ing carried them to New York on his flagship, the Wabash. Over 
half the party were sick, and all were in destitute circumstances 
when taken aboard the American vessels, lacking adequate clothing 
and infested with vermin. Their wants were supplied so far as 
practicable from the ship's stores. Captain Erskine, of the British 
fleet, offered the use of the Tartar to convey the survivors to the 
United States as soon as this vessel returned from its trip to New 
Orleans with Lockridge's men, but Paulding declined his offer.^ 
The Wabash arrived in New York on June 28 with 138 refugees, 
four of them having died on the way. 

1 Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 1857, in House Ex. Doc. 2, 35 Cong., 
1 Sess. 

* MS., Archives Navy Dept., Home Squadron, II., 33 fif. 


Meanwhile Mervine found himself greatly encumbered with more 
than three hundred of Walker's men ; they were in great distress and 
a menace to the health of his own command. He sent them by 
rail from Panama to Aspinwall, whence they were taken to the 
United States. 

The invasion of Nicaragua had been no holiday outing. It has 
been estimated that in proportion to numbers the losses of the fiU- 
busters were about double those of the American army in the 
Mexican War. At Rivas, on April 11, 1856, the filibusters lost 
twenty-four per cent of their force engaged; at Masaya, in the 
second engagement on November 17, they lost thirty-five per cent ; 
at the siege of Granada, fifty-seven per cent ; in the first battle at 
San Jorge, twenty-three per cent ; and in the last battle, eighteen 
per cent.^ The total loss of the Americans from all causes has 
been variously estimated. M. Felix Belly, a Frenchman who 
visited Nicaragua shortly after Walker's downfall and has given 
us a very entertaining if not very accurate account of his experi- 
ences there, declared that fourteen thousand filibusters died in 
Nicaragua.^ According to another account, seven thousand men 
went to Nicaragua from the Atlantic States and about half that 
number went from California.^ Both statements are gross exag- 
gerations. Walker's effective force at no time exceeded twelve 
hundred, and the largest number he ever sent into an engagement 
was eight hundred, in his first attack on Masaya. According to a 
report purported to have been prepared by Walker's adjutant- 
general, the total enlistment up to February 24, 1857, excluding 
native troops, department employees, and citizen volunteers, was 
2288.* Only seventy recruits joined the army after that date. 
Henningsen, who reported details with military precision, gave 
the total enlistment from the time of Walker's landing until the 

» Henningsen's report. See Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 208. 

* Belly, A travers VAmSrigue Centrale, I., 285. * Dublin Review, XLIII., 376. 

« Peter F. Stout, Nicaragua, 209-10. (Philadelphia, 1859.) 


date of his surrender as 2518. This includes the groups excluded 
from the report of the adjutant-general, and the two statements 
thus corroborate each other. Henningsen also attempts to show 
what became of those who enlisted. One thousand died of disease 
or were killed; 700 deserted; 250 were discharged; 80 were 
captured in garrison or on the steamers, and the remainder 
surrendered at Rivas, with the exception of a few score un- 
accounted for. Thirty-four per cent of the total force were 
either killed or wounded; forty per cent were killed or 
succumbed to disease; twenty-eight per cent deserted; ten 
per cent were discharged ; four per cent were captured or unac- 
counted for; and only eighteen per cent were left to surrender 
at Rivas. 

The estimates of the losses of the allies are only guesses, but it 
is a safe hazard that they were four or five times greater than 
those of the Americans. They had neither arms of precision nor 
skill to use the weapons they had, while their opponents were in 
large part trained marksmen. The Frenchman, M. Belly, who 
warmly sympathized with the allies in their struggle against 
Walker, portrays quite eloquently the horrors which afflicted them 
in their campaign. "Cholera and plague," he says, "joined with 
American rifles to make of every town a tomb and every march a 
hecatomb. . . . This was not a war; it was a butchery."^ 
President Mora, too, after the battle of Rivas on April 11, 1856, 
declared that the Americans fought more like demons than men, 
but that the worst enemy of both Americans and Costa Ricans was 
the Nicaraguan climate, to which he attributed the loss of a thou- 
sand of his soldiers.^ Henningsen, whose guess is as good as any, 
estimated the total force employed by the enemy against Walker 
as 17,800. Of this number 11,500 came from other States than 
Nicaragua. The total losses of the allies in killed and wounded 
he put at 5860, but attempted no estimate of the losses from 

1 Belly, op. cit., I., 285. * New York Times, Mar. 9, 1867. 


cholera and other diseases.^ Henningsen's estimates oi the 
numbers and losses of the allies are much more conservative than 
the reports sent in by newspaper correspondents at the time of the 
various engagements, and while all such statements concerning 
the allies should be dealt with cautiously, the figures given by him 
are those of a trained military observer, with nothing to gain by 
exaggerating the enemy's strength or belittling his own, and are 
therefore entitled to more consideration than the blind guesses of 
various news writers. 

There was no rejoicing in the United States over Walker's down- 
fall, except on the part of the strenuous opponents of slavery 
extension. Much consolation was drawn from the fact that 
Walker was defeated only by American help furnished by Vander- 
bilt, Spencer, and Davis.^ The ablest and most consistent oppo- 
nent of filibusterism was Horace Greeley, whose journal, the New 
York Tribune, while expressing its satisfaction at the outcome, 
declared, "In his whole career we look in vain for a single act of 
wisdom or foresight. All the success he had he owed to the total 
exhaustion of the Nicaraguan population by civil war, and the 
desire for peace at any price." ^ On the other hand, Harper's 
Weekly, which had published a number of articles reflecting severely 
on various phases of Walker's campaign, called on the Tribune 
to show that the closing of the Transit, which followed the weaken- 
ing of Walker's power, had been compensated by any corresponding 
advantage to commerce or civilization, and added that if Walker 
were invited to return to Nicaragua by any considerable portion 
of its people and proved wise enough to join his interests to those 
of the company which ruined him, his second inauguration as 
president would not be a matter of serious regret.^ 

1 President Mora was quoted as saying that the ravages of cholera and the near 
approach of the rainy season would have made the dissolution of the allied army 
inevitable within twenty days had Walker been able to hold out during that time. 
Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 249. 

« Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 239. 

» New York Weekly TrOmne, July 3, 1857. * Harper's Weekly, I., 530. 


The British press naturally expressed much gratification that 
Walker was no longer a disturbing factor in Central America. Few 
Englishmen seemed to comprehend Walker's purposes, if their 
journals reflect the prevailing opinion. To them he was always 
a bandit, a brigand, a ruthless plunderer, and a leader of an armed 
rabble. The London Times expressed its regret that Davis inter- 
vened and prevented "an ignominious ending of their career, 
unless their own despair had anticipated the ultimate event." 
"Let the United States make war and conquer if they can find a 
cause and are prepared to face the responsibility ; but it is a dis- 
grace to any nation which is chary of its fair fame to constitute it- 
self the patron — even the una vowed patron — of such bandits as 
these filibusters and their chief." ^ More than half a century 
later the idea that the Pierce and Buchanan administrations were 
using Walker as a tool to effect the annexation of parts of Central 
America still persists, and is not confined to English writers. 

1 London Times, June 18, 1857. Fine words, these, from a nation which owes its 
beginnings to buccaneering expeditions of Viking and Norman and its Eastern 
empire and its mastery of the seas to the buccaneers of the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries. Yea, the Jameson raid in the Transvaal is still fresh in the memories of 

More Filibustering Mishaps 

While filibusterism in Nicaragua was making its last des- 
perate stand at Rivas, attention was again directed toward 
Sonora, which was subjected to another invasion from California. 
The leader of this expedition was Henry A. Crabb, whose name 
has already appeared several times in these pages. Crabb was 
a native of Nashville, Tennessee, and had been a schoolmate of 
Walker's. He entered the legal profession and began the practice 
of law at Vicksburg. In 1848, during the presidential contest, 
he quarrelled at a political meeting with the editor of the Vicksburg 
Sentinel, a man named Jenkins, and the next day, when the two 
encountered each other on the street, the quarrel was renewed, 
resulting in an exchange of shots, in which Crabb was wounded 
and Jenkins was killed. Crabb was tried for murder and ac- 
quitted, and shortly thereafter he joined the caravan of "forty- 
niners" and betook himself to California. After settling at Stock- 
ton he resumed the practice of law and was soon elected city 
attorney. In 1852 he was a member of the lower house of the 
State legislature and during the next two years served in the 
State Senate. In 1855 he joined the Know-Nothing party and 
announced his candidacy for the United States Senate, but with- 
drew from the race when he found his chances hopeless.^ 

Disappointed in politics, Crabb began to seek elsewhere an 
outlet for his energies. Like Walker, he took a deep interest in 

» H. S. Foote, Casket of Reminiscences, 385-7 (Washington, 1874), and Bench 
and Bar of the South and Southwest, 144 (St. Louis, 1876) ; O'Meara, Broderick and 
Gwin, 47-8; Bell, Reminiscences of a Ranger, 217; Hittell, History of California^ 
III., 806 flF. 



the schemes of the French in Sonora, and in October, 1853, he 
engaged passage on the brig Caroline from San Francisco to 
Guaymas to take a look at the country. He had married the 
daughter of a Manila Spaniard named Ainza. This family had 
settled in Sonora with considerable wealth, but had become 
impoverished by revolutions and confiscations and had finally 
migrated to California as refugees. By this visit Crabb appar- 
ently intended to seek some means of obtaining the restitution of 
the Ainza property. It so happened, however, that the Caroline 
was the very vessel Walker had engaged to convey his filibusters 
to Lower California, and when these heterogeneous adventurers 
came on board Crabb realized that the chances of his success in 
Mexico would be ruined if he entered Sonora in such company. 
He therefore ordered his baggage put ashore and postponed the 
Sonoran visit to a later day.^ 

Shortly thereafter Crabb visited the East, and while crossing 
the isthmus at Nicaragua he conceived the idea, as previously 
shown,^ of bringing a force of Californians to that country to 
take part in the struggle between the Legitimists and the Dem- 
ocrats. On his return to California he was accompanied by 
C. C. Hornsby and Thomas F. Fisher, whom he had induced to 
join him in this enterprise. Through the instrumentality of 
Fisher a contract was negotiated with General Jerez for bringing 
five hundred men to Nicaragua, but when Crabb reached Cali- 
fornia he conceived an ambition to enter the United States Senate, 
and as he seemed to have some chance to reach this coveted goal 
he abandoned the idea of filibustering and again plunged into 
politics. The contract with Jerez he then offered to his friend 
Walker, but the latter preferred the grant which Cole had secured 
from Castellon. It was partly due to Crabb's influence that 
Walker and his men eventually succeeded in putting to sea in 
the Vesta. 

1 Alta California, Oct. 21, 1853. * See above, p. 86. 


His new venture in politics brought Crabb only disappointment 
and humiliation, and the news of Walker's success in Nicaragua 
caused him to suffer another attack of the filibustering fever. 
He could not go to Nicaragua without playing second fiddle to 
Walker, but Sonora was still crying for the advent of a "regen- 
erator," and his marriage into a Sonoran family had given him a 
special interest in this region. Accordingly, a colonization com- 
pany of about one hundred persons was organized early in 1856, 
consisting mainly of former Sonorans, and Crabb set out with 
these for Mexico. His wife and several members of her family ac- 
companied him, an indication that this was no mere filibustering 
raid. When the party reached Los Angeles the prospect of a 
weary journey through the desert caused about half the members 
to withdraw, but the rest crossed the border. They found Sonora 
in its normal state of civil commotion; for a revolution under 
the leadership of Ignacio Pesquiera was then in progress against 
Gandara, the governor. The insurgents asked Crabb's aid and 
offered him a number of inducements to bring a colony into the 
country, declaring that they desired the annexation of Sonora to 
the United States, after securing its independence, and that 
they regarded American colonization as a means to this end. 

Crabb returned to California in the autumn, cherishing an 
ambitious colonizing scheme, but finding the people too engrossed 
in the coming presidential election to give much attention to his 
plans, he was compelled to postpone his undertaking for several 
months. In the meantime the two factions in Mexico had come 
to an understanding and had buried the hatchet. Their previous 
invitation to American colonists became a source of great embar- 
rassment to the Pesquiera faction, now that they had made their 
peace with the government, and they sought to atone for their 
former disloyalty by denouncing as filibusteros the men they had 
invited to come.^ 

> House Ex. Doc. 64, 35 Cong., 1 Sesa. 


After the political excitement in California had subsided Crabb 
began the organization of what he called the "Arizona Coloni- 
zation Company," and many prominent California politicians 
joined the enterprise. In January, 1857, between fifty and sixty 
expeditionists assembled in the town of Sonora, Tuolumne 
County, and on the 20th proceeded to San Francisco, where an- 
other detachment was awaiting them. The combined force, 
amounting to about one hundred men, then embarked for San 
Pedro, where they arrived on the 24th. They next proceeded to 
El Monte, in Los Angeles County, and spent a week there buying 
animals, wagons, and provisions. On February 27 the party 
reached Fort Yuma, where another week was spent "recruiting 

The company was organized on a military basis, and during 
its stay at Fort Yuma had its daily routine of drill and guard 
mounting, and its officers endeavoured to maintain rigid discipline. 
Crabb was commander-in-chief; R. N. Wood, his adjutant-gen- 
eral, was a former member of the California legislature, and had 
been one of the Fillmore electors in that State ; T. D. Johns, who 
had the rank of chief of artillery, was a West Point graduate, and 
had served as a lieutenant in the regular army ; Dr. T. J. Oxley, 
the surgeon-general, had been a Whig and Know-Nothing leader 
and a member of the legislature ; J. D. Cosby, ranking as a brig- 
adier-general, was still a member of the State Senate ; William H. 
McCoun, the commissary-general, was also an ex-legislator of 
California ; and Henry P. Watkins, Walker's former law partner 
and co-labourer in the "regeneration" of Sonora, was quarter- 

Early in March Crabb and his party left Fort Yuma and took 
the trail through the desert toward Sonora. On the 25th they 
arrived at the pueblo of Sonoyta just over the Mexican boundary 
line. The warden of the village at once notified the prefect of 
El Altar of their arrival, stating that the men were armed with 


daggers, pistols, and rifles, but that they paid due respect to in- 
dividuals, families, and property. News of their coming had 
already reached the Mexican authorities and they were taking 
measures to resist. The prefect at El Altar had called upon the 
Sonorans to take up arms against "the bandits." Ignacio Pes- 
quiera, now enjoying the title of " substitute governor of the State 
and commander-in-chief of the forces on the frontier," out-Her- 
oded Herod in his efforts to prove his loyalty and his utter detes- 
tation of the men who had come to Sonora at his invitation. In 
a flamboyant proclamation he exclaimed : " Let us fly to chastise, 
with all the fury which can scarcely be restrained in hearts full of 
hatred of oppression, the savage filibuster who has dared in an 
evil hour to tread on the national territory and to provoke — 
Madman I — our anger. No pity, no generous sentiments for 
that rabble ! Let them die the death of wild beasts who, tram- 
pling under foot the law of nations, and despising the civil law and 
all social institutions, are bold enough to invoke as their only 
guide the natural law, and to ask as their only help the force of 

Crabb seemed very much surprised at the hostility shown by the 
officials, and immediately after reaching Sonoyta he went before 
the warden and assured him of his friendly intentions, at the 
same time protesting against the hostile acts and accusations made 
against him. He also wrote to the prefect at El Altar, stating 
that he and his men had come in conformity with the colonization 
laws of Mexico, and at the invitation of very influential citizens, 
"with the intention of finding most happy firesides with and 
among you." His present party, he said, was to be joined by nine 
hundred more men. They had made only "pacific proposals" 
and meditated no hostilities. They were well armed, it was true, 
but this was customary when people passed through regions in- 
fested with hostile Indians ; and great was their surprise at finding 

' House Ex. Doc. 64, 35 Cong., 1 Sess. 


the oflficials resorting to warlike measures, threatening to poison 
wells, and intriguing with Indians. He ended his letter with a 
warning that "if blood is to flow, with all its horrors, on your 
head be it, and not on mine." ^ 

Crabb remained at Sonoyta only two days and then set out for 
Caborca, a small town near Point Lobos on the Gulf of California.^ 
At about eight o'clock on the morning of April 1, when about 
half a mile from this town and while moving along the road be- 
tween fields of wheat in no military order, the Americans were 
suddenly fired upon by Mexicans lying in ambush. They pressed 
on toward the town, exchanging shots with the enemy, who had 
concealed themselves on both sides of the road wherever there 
was available cover. After an hour of fighting the Americans 
took shelter in a row of adobe houses, while the Mexicans took 
their station in a church across the street. In the skirmish two 
of Crabb's men were killed and eighteen wounded, three of the 
latter dying the following night. Some hours after reaching the 
houses, Crabb and a squad of his men rushed across the street 
with a keg of powder, intending to blow open the doors of the 
church. The effort failed; several were killed, and a number, 
including Crabb, were wounded. The Americans were then closely 
besieged till April 6, when the roof of their building was ignited 
with a burning arrow. A keg of powder was set off in the room 
below the burning roof in the hope of blowing away the blazing 
thatch. The plan failed, and Crabb then made overtures of peace. 

Shortly before eleven o'clock at night one of the men was sent 
over to the church bearing a flag of truce. He was not allowed 
to return, but called to his companions that Gabilondo, the com- 
mander, had promised to send them to Altar and give them a fair 
trial if they would march out of the house one by one and leave 
their arms behind. Crabb then had his brother-in-law, a Spanish- 
American named Cortlezon, to negotiate at long distance with 

» Ho\ise Ex. Doc. 64, 35 Cong., 1 Sess., 29-30. » See map, p. 38. 


Gabilondo. The Mexican commander stood in the belfry of the 
church and Cortlezon in the door of the adobe house. Gabilondo 
promised the Americans a fair trial, and Crabb told Cortlezon to 
ask how the wounded would be treated. To this the Mexican 
replied that he had a good physician who would look after them 
well. On receiving these assurances Crabb decided to surrender, 
though some of his men were not so easily satisfied as he with 
Mexican promises. The Americans marched across the street 
one by one, leaving their arms behind them, and on entering the 
church they were seized and bound with ropes and conducted to 
the barracks. Crabb was separated from his men and not al- 
lowed to communicate with them. At one o'clock on the morn- 
ing of the 7th, just two hours after their surrender, a sergeant 
came with orders, which he read in Spanish, and Cortlezon in- 
terpreted them as he read. The orders were to the effect that the 
men would be shot at sunrise. 

A few hours later the sentence was carried out. The men were 
shot in squads of five and ten. The soldiers detailed for this 
work were so unnerved that their aim was bad and they wounded 
more of the victims at the first few volleys than they killed. The 
writhings of the wounded men unnerved them still more. The 
backs of the prisoners were then turned toward the soldiers so 
that they would not have to look into the faces of the men they 
were shooting, and this enabled them to do their work much 
better. Crabb was reserved for special treatment. He was tied 
to a post in front of the building he had occupied, with his face to 
the post and his hands bound high above his head. A hundred 
shots were said to have been fired and his limp body remained 
hanging by his tied hands. The head was severed, and after 
being exhibited for several days in the village was preserved in 
mescal as a ghastly trophy of victory over los filibusteros Amer- 
icanos, and as proof of the loyalty of the Pesquieristas to the 
existing government. The bodies of the slain were left unburied. 


and the Mexicans boasted that their swine were fattened on 
American carcases. Gabilondo too boasted that he had promised 
the Americans a good physician and that he had kept his promise. 
The massacre was evidently done at the instigation of Pesquiera, 
who was now ashamed of his former relations with Crabb, and 
knew that dead men could tell no tales. With the Americans 
there was a fourteen-year-old boy by the name of Charles Edward 
Evans. His life was spared, and he alone was left to tell the story. 
Gabilondo took him to his house and treated him as a menial until 
the American vice-consul at Mazatlan secured his release.^ 

According to the Mexican version Crabb's men surrendered 
unconditionally, but even if this were true, it is no justification of 
the massacre of the prisoners. Granting that the men were pi- 
rates or bandits, this fact of itself would not justify their captors 
in shooting them on the spot. Such an act was merely a resort 
to lynch law, and it is strange indeed to observe an American 
historian seeking to condone it.^ The shooting of Crabb and his 
companions aroused much feeling in the United States, especially 
in California, where the leader and his chief associates were well 
known and much respected, and where Mexicans were cordially 
detested. Minister Forsyth called on the Mexican government 
to make an investigation and punish those who were responsible 
for such high-handed measures, but the delays that characterize 
Spanish-American negotiations caused the matter to be lost in 
the sloughs of diplomacy. 

There is of course no question that Crabb was contemplating 
something more than a mere colonization enterprise. He was 
really seeking to emulate Sam Houston in Texas and Walker in 
Nicaragua. The San Joaquin Republican, a paper published in 
Stockton, his old home, stated, after chronicling his death:' 

^ House Ex. Doc. 64, 35 Cong., 1 Sess. 

* H. H. Bancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, II., 694-5. (San Francisco, 



"That his purposes were dishonourable or sordid will not be be- 
lieved by anyone acquainted with the character of the men who 
led and organized the party. . . . We believe that his most 
inveterate enemy will admit that no man in California bears or 
has borne a more unsullied reputation." ^ While brave, honest, 
and determined, Crabb did not have in him the stuff of which real 
filibusters are made. Walker and Henningsen frequently found 
themselves in much more desperate straits than were the filibus- 
ters at Caborca — notably at the first and second battles of 
Rivas and at the siege of Granada — but they always managed 
to extricate themselves. The reliance which Crabb placed on 
Mexican promises speaks well for his heart, but not so for his head. 
Let us now return to Walker, whom we left aboard an American 
man-of-war at San Juan del Sur. From that port the fallen fili- 
buster and his staff were conveyed to Panama on the St. Mary's, 
whence they proceeded to the United States, reaching New Orleans 
on May 27. There they received an enthusiastic welcome. As 
soon as he stepped from the gang-plank Walker was lifted to the 
shoulders of several men and borne to his carriage. The cheering 
crowd formed a procession and followed him to the St. Charles 
Hotel, where he was compelled to make a speech from the balcony. 
His admirers refused to disperse and called so persistently for 
another speech that he entered the rotunda, mounted a table, 
and gave them an encore. A mass meeting was arranged for the 
evening of the 29th, and was held on the "neutral ground" of 
Canal Street.^ Walker and his staff occupied a platform dec- 

' San Joaquin Republican, May 17, 1857. 

•A New Orleans lady, Mrs. V. E. W. McCord, composed a poem to Walker 
on his arrival in that city. The composition is devoid of literary merit, but the last 
of the fifteen stanzas is interesting as reflecting the idea of the average American 
concerning Walker's plans : 

All hail to thee, Chief ! Heaven's blessings may rest 
On the battle-scarred brow of our national guest, 
And soon may our Eagle fly over the sea, 
And plant there a branch of our national tree. 

Major Heiss's Scrapbook. 


orated with the stars and stripes and with his flag of Nicaragua. 
The filibuster general spoke for two hours, giving a synopsis of 
his career in Nicaragua, defending his course, and paying his 
respects to those who had stood in the way of his success.^ From 
New Orleans he went to Memphis, thence to Louisville, where 
he visited his sister, Mrs. Richardson, then to Cincinnati and from 
there to Washington. On June 12 he paid a visit to President 
Buchanan by appointment, and three days later submitted to 
him in writing his case against Commander Davis, protesting 
against that officer's interference, and especially against his seizure 
of the Granada.^ 

On June 16 Walker reached New York. He was met at 
Amboy by a committee of admirers and escorted up the bay to 
Battery Park, where he made a speech in a shower of rain. On 
the following evening he attended the Bowery Theatre with his 
staff, and the next evening attended Wallack's Theatre, occupy- 
ing a box with General and Mrs. Henningsen. As they entered, 
the orchestra struck up "Hail, Columbia," and Walker was com- 
pelled to address the audience from his box. Curious crowds so 
beset him that he had diflSculty in leaving the theatre, and on 
reaching his hotel he was serenaded by a brass band. No one 
deprecated such publicity more than Walker himself, and for his 
peace of mind he was compelled to leave the hotel and seek a 
secluded place where only his intimate friends could find him. 
Henningsen, who had sailed from Aspinwall direct to New York, 
was welcomed even more heartily than his chief.^ 

The hero-worship of the New-Yorkers, however, was destined 
to be of short duration. Walker's constant aspersion of the mo- 
tives of Davis did not take very well with the average citizen, 
who looked upon the naval oifficer as the cause of his being alive. 
Moreover, the Wabash soon came into port, bringing its cargo of 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 208. * Washington States, June 17, 1857. 

» New York Herald, June 17-19, 1857 ; Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 202. 


miserable wretches, whose terrible condition of destitution, sick- 
ness, and utter helplessness was fully depicted, and probably over- 
drawn, in the public prints. Many of them told tales of their 
leader's cruelty and indifference, which obtained additional colour 
when it became known that Walker did not even visit those who 
had suffered so much in his cause or take any steps to alleviate 
their distress. Instead, he ran away from them, taking a hurried 
departure for Charleston three days after their arrival. From 
Charleston Walker took his way by easy stages through Georgia 
to his old home in Nashville, and from there proceeded to Mobile, 
where preparations for another expedition to Nicaragua were al- 
ready under way. In August the press described the organiza- 
tion of a "Central American League," with branches in all the 
large cities of the United States, for the purpose of organizing and 
equipping a second expedition on a much greater scale than the 
first. Walker made no secret of his intention to return, and 
Henningsen, on bidding farewell to Lockridge in New York, had 
exclaimed, "We'll meet again at Philippi." When autumn came, 
Henningsen in New York, Waters in Mississippi, Lockridge in 
Texas, and Rogers in New Orleans were all suspected of being 
busily engaged in securing recruits and supplies.^ 

Knowledge of these facts and rumours caused Irisarri and 
Molina to notify Secretary Cass of the intended expedition, the 
armament for which they believed was being collected in New 
York, and they begged the American government to prevent the 
landing of the expedition at any Central American port in case 
its departure from the United States could not be prevented.^ 
Cass immediately sent a circular letter to all the United States 
marshals, district attorneys, and collectors of the ports of the 
Southern and seaboard States, notifying them of the projected 
expedition and urging them to be diligent in enforcing the law and 

1 New York Herald, Dec. 14, 1857. 

* MS., Archives, Department of State, Notes, Central America, II. 


to communicate at once to the Department any information that 
might come to them concerning such expeditions. The same 
instructions were sent by the Secretary of the Navy to the com- 
manders of vessels in Central American waters. The officials 
at Mobile and New Orleans acknowledged the receipt of Cass's 
letter, but furnished no information of filibustering expeditions. 
The Federal district attorney at New Orleans, however, notified 
Cass that if such an expedition should depart from that port 
there would be no means of preventing it, as the naval force there 
was entirely inadequate. Cass at once communicated this to the 
Secretary of the Navy, Isaac Toucey, who ordered the Fulton to 
touch at Mobile and New Orleans on its way to Central American 
waters. This was not a very aggressive method of suppressing 
filibustering, but was about all that the Navy Department could 
do with the forces at its disposal. 

On October 30 the United States attorney at Nashville notified 
Cass that there was no doubt that recruiting had been going on in 
his district and that he had brought persons supposed to have a 
knowledge of Walker's plans before a grand jury, but had failed 
to secure sufficient evidence to justify an indictment. The 
activities of Walker's supporters had recently abated, he said, 
and the expedition had evidently been abandoned or postponed. 
Ten days later word came from Charleston that a former captain 
of Walker's, J. T. Mackey, had raised a company of one hundred 
men in the upper part of the State, and that they would assemble 
at Charleston and join another company at Savannah. The 
district attorney at Charleston was awaiting the rendezvous in 
order to make arrests.^ 

When Toucey ordered the Fulton to call at Mobile and New 
Orleans on its way to the Central American coast he instructed 
its commander. Lieutenant John J. Almy, to report to the De- 
partment what he could learn in these cities concerning the prob- 

1 House Ex, Doc. 24, 35 Cong., 1 Sess., 13, 14. 


able departure of filibusters. Almy's instructions also included 
the directions given to other naval officers in the Caribbean with 
regard to the enforcement of the neutrality law. To every naval 
officer these instructions were exceedingly vague, as they were 
originally intended only for civil officials in American ports, and 
Almy before sailing wrote for a fuller explanation of his duties in 
carrying them out. The questions he asked must have been up- 
permost in the minds of all his fellow-officers stationed in the 
Central American ports. Since the neutrality law applied only 
to ports of the United States or to those under its jurisdiction, 
must he seize a suspicious vessel in a foreign port, he asked, or 
merely prevent its passengers from landing? Again, what must 
he do if the passengers inform him that they are travellers in- 
tending to cross the isthmus or are merely peaceable settlers? 
Toucey's reply was not very enlightening: naval officers must 
not act arbitrarily or on mere suspicion, and must be careful not 
to interfere with lawful commerce ; but where a vessel was mani- 
festly engaged in filibustering they must use the force at their 
command to prevent men and arms from being landed.^ As a 
matter of fact, the stationing of American vessels in foreign ports 
to enforce the laws of the United States was such an anomalous 
proceeding that no cabinet officer could have given specific direc- 
tions as to the exact procedure that should be followed. 

After reaching Mobile Almy heard rumours of a filibustering 
expedition, but could hear of nothing sufficiently tangible to jus- 
tify official action. He found public sentiment very favourable 
to the movement, and there was a general opinion that the Wash- 
ington administration was disposed to wink at such enterprises. 
This impression he strove to correct, but the citizens were in- 
clined to lay much stress on Cass's oft-repeated statement that 
Americans had a right at all times to emigrate and take their arms 
with them. While he found that the sympathies of the people 

I Senate Doc. 13, 35 Cong., 1 Seas. 


were all on the side of the filibusters, the financial distress was 
then so acute that the contemplated movement was seriously 
hampered by a lack of funds. ^ From New Orleans Almy on 
November 1 sent a similar report. Financial depression had 
caused the filibustering fever greatly to subside, and the prevailing 
opinion was that no expedition could leave the country for a year 
to come. Walker was in the city, but appeared to be compara- 
tively quiet, and the violent filibusters, who were always airing 
their views in the public prints and causing excitement, were 
violent only with tongue and pen.^ 

The naval officer failed to read the signs aright. Even as he 
wrote, the preparations for Walker's return to Nicaragua were 
nearing completion. The Federal civil officers of the port were 
more alive to the situation, and on November 10 caused Walker 
to be arrested on an affidavit charging him with violation of the 
neutrality law. The arrest took place at Walker's lodgings on 
Custom House Street shortly before midnight, and the filibuster 
was taken to the St. Charles Hotel, where the district judge was 
waiting to take his recognizance for his appearance on the follow- 
ing morning. Pierre Soule and Colonel S. F. Slatter were also 
there, the one to offer his services as counsel and the other to 
act as his bondsman. Walker was released for a hearing the 
next morning, with Slatter as his security in the sum of two thou- 
sand dollars. On the following morning Walker duly appeared, 
and was discharged to reappear for examination on the 19th. 
The district attorney asked the court to increase the amount of 
Walker's bail, but the request was refused. 

Walker's arrest had been prompted in part by a telegraphic 
despatch from New York published in the New Orleans papers 
and stating that an expedition was to leave the latter city in the 
course of the week for Nicaragua. Few persons even knew that 

^ This waa in the midst of the panic of 1857. 

« MS., Archives, Navy Dept., Officers' Letters, Nov., 1857. 


Walker was in New Orleans until they saw this statement in the 
press. The Federal authorities met in consultation at ten o'clock 
on the evening of the 10th, and decided on Walker's arrest. They 
were strengthened in their suspicions by the knowledge that the 
steamer Fashion, then in port, had been taking on a large cargo of 
provisions. The steamer had formerly been a government trans- 
port, and a few days before had been sold in New Orleans for a 
^ominal sum to J. G. Humphries, a man supposed to be a sup- 
porter of Walker. Her scheduled departure from Mobile to 
Greytown as a regular packet of the Mobile and Nicaragua Steam- 
ship Company had been widely advertised, and government 
officers therefore had kept a close watch on the boat. When it 
became known that a crew had been engaged and that a cargo 
had been taken on board, Walker's arrest immediately followed. 
The Fashion was searched, but as nothing suspicious was found 
on board, no attempt was made to detain her, and a few hours 
after Walker's arrest she weighed anchor and proceeded down the 
river to Mobile. On the next afternoon Walker, in spite of the 
fact that he was under bail, took passage with his staff and a large 
number of his followers on the mail boat for Mobile, and on ar- 
riving there boarded the Fashion, anchored some distance down 
the bay. On leaving New Orleans his men made their way to 
the mail boat in small groups by different routes so as to arouse 
no suspicion. 

. As soon as Walker's departure from New Orleans was known, 
District Attorney Clack telegraphed the fact to Cass and stated 
that the officials would be helpless without a steamer to pursue 
the filibusters to their supposed rendezvous.^ At the same time 
he notified the district attorney at Mobile to watch the Fashion 
in the event that she came to that port. Cass on hearing of 
Walker's departure telegraphed Clack to employ a steamer and 
take on board the marshal and a sufficient posse to overhaul the 

> H»UBe Ex. Doc. 24, 35 Cong., 1 Sess., 14. 


Fashion; but the message for some reason was never delivered, 
and the Federal activity at New Orleans was at an end. At 
Mobile the Federal officers were more lax. The district attorney, 
on receiving Clack's message, laid the matter before the collector 
of the port, Thaddeus Sanf ord, and the latter ordered an inspection 
of the steamer. This inspection was a farce ; the cargo was found 
to be above suspicion, and the 270 passengers were apparently 
lawful emigrants. The vessel was therefore allowed to depart 
for Greytown, although Walker was suspected of being on board.^ 
For his failure to detain the Fashion, Sanford was severely cen- 
sured by Howell Cobb, the Secretary of the Treasury. The col- 
lector thereupon submitted a lengthy and feeble explanation, in- 
dicating a guilelessness on his part which even the angels might 
have envied. His chief defence was his lack of knowledge of the 
facts in the case until the steamer had actually departed. The 
vessel was anchored six miles below the city, and when the inspec- 
tor left her decks she was ready for sea and was gone by the time 
that he delivered his report to Sanford. This lame explanation 
Cobb accepted, but enjoined upon the collector the necessity of 
preventing repetitions of the incident. The censure had its effect, 
for on December 16 the owner of the Fashion applied for a clear- 
ance for the schooner Queen of the South, bound for Greytown 
with coal and merchandise. A band of emigrants had arrived 
in Mobile a few days previously, and it was generally supposed 
that they intended to embark on the schooner. Sanford with- 
held a clearance, though the pressure of public opinion upon him 
was severe. The night after his action a public meeting was 
held at which an ex-governor and other prominent citizens bitterly 
criticised the action of the government. So strong was the pop- 
ular disapproval that the collector asked the Secretary of the 
Treasury for a special endorsement of his action. Cobb replied 
that "the circumstances under which you refused the clearance 

J House Ex. Doc. 24, 36 Cong., 1 Sess., 24-7 ; 3^-44. 


fully justify your course, and the department unhesitatingly 
approves it." ^ 

The escape of the Fashion caused the government to increase 
its vigilance so as to prevent reinforcements going to Walker. 
Captain J. T. Mackey, the former filibuster, for some time sus- 
pected of recruiting in South Carolina, was arrested in Charleston, 
but on being allowed to leave the court room to obtain sureties 
for his bond effected his escape. Cobb warned the customs offi- 
cers at Galveston and New Orleans to keep a sharp lookout for 
the Fashion, which was expected to return at once for a second 
instalment of recruits for Nicaragua; and Toucey ordered the 
steam frigate Stisquehanna, stationed at Key West, to proceed at 
once to Cape Gracias, Honduras, and from there cruise along the 
coast to Greytown.^ 

The Fashion had put to sea on November 14. As soon as 
she was beyond the jurisdiction of the United States, the men 
were organized into a battalion of four companies. Of the men 
aboard the steamer thirty had been with Walker during his pre- 
vious campaign, and six had belonged to the "original fifty-six." 
Hornsby, Anderson, Fayssoux, Swingle, Bruno von Natzmer, and 
the ever-fighting and much-wounded Henry were among those who 
were willing to face again the hardships of a tropical campaign. 
John Tabor was also returning to resume his editorial duties with 
El Nicaraguense. Henry, now having the rank of colonel, drilled 
the men every day, giving especial attention to the details of 
camp duty, such as guard mounting and the posting of sentinels, 
while Swingle instructed the men in the moulding of bullets and 
making of cartridges. Land was sighted on the 23d, but the 
steamer, instead of making for Greytown, headed for the mouth of 
the Colorado River, a southern fork of the San Juan. When this 
point was reached, three boats were lowered and one of the com- 
panies, with Anderson in command, was ordered to disembark 

I House Ex. Doc. 24, 35 Cong., 1 Seas., 44-6. « Ibid., 29-32 ; 49-66. 


under arms. They rowed away up the stream in a heavy down- 
pour of rain, and the Fashion again stood out to sea. All night 
long the steamer hung along the coast, and at seven o'clock on 
the morning of the 24th ran boldly into the harbour of Greytown 
and headed for Punta Arenas. The vessel was brought alongside 
the hulk of an old abandoned Transit boat now used as a wharf, 
and the men were ashore within five minutes after the steamer 
was made fast.^ 

All this took place under the very eyes of the officers on the 
American sloop-of-war, Saratoga, which had been stationed in the 
harbour to prevent just such an occurrence. It seems that Com- 
mander Chatard's suspicions were entirely lulled when the steamer 
came in so boldly and passed so near him, showing only about 
fifteen men on deck. He decided that the vessel was bringing a 
party to reopen the Transit route.^ Great was his chagrin when 
he saw several hundred men, armed with rifles, leaping over the 
gunwales to the hulk. He was now confronted with the same 
problem which had puzzled Almy. He did not wish to open fire 
on the vessel in a neutral port so as to stop the disembarkation, 
and when the men had landed he had no jurisdiction over them. 
In much perturbation he wrote to his flag officer. Commodore 
Hiram Paulding, at Aspinwall, urging him to come to Greytown 
at once. The British mail steamer Dee came into port some days 
after the arrival of the filibusters, and Chatard hurried her off to 
Aspinwall with his message to Paulding several hours before her 
scheduled departure. Accompanying his official communication 
Chatard sent Paulding a private letter bewailing his own stupidity 
in allowing the filibusters to outwit him. "Somehow or other I 
was spellbound, and so my officers seemed to be. . . . I beg you, 
sir, in the most earnest manner, to come here and advise me. I am 
in a very cruel state of mind and look gloomily to the future."* 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 278, 280 ; New York Herald, Dec. 14. 1857. 

* MS., Archivea, Navy Department, Home Squadron, II., 58. » Ibid., 58 ff. 


The Fashion reached Aspinwall almost simultaneously with the 
Dee and brought Paulding a letter from Walker complaining that 
Chatard was subjecting him to petty annoyances. On the ground 
of protecting American property, Chatard had refused to allow 
the filibusters to occupy the buildings of the Transit Company on 
the Point ; some of his officers, not in uniform, had entered Walk- 
er's camp without noticing the sentry's challenge; target prac- 
tice with howitzers was carried on so close to Walker's camp that 
a stray shot might have caused serious trouble; and Chatard 
finally had notified Walker that his camp was in the way of any 
shot the Saratoga might have to fire to bring to a suspicious vessel 
and must be moved. ^ Walker had already moved part of his 
camp to avoid danger from Chatard's target practice, and paid 
no attention to this last demand. Piqued at being foiled by the 
filibusters, Chatard was venting his spite in such petty ways in 
the hope that he would provoke them to commit some act that 
would justify him in interfering and breaking up the expedition, 
and thus retrieving to some extent his blunder in allowing them 
to land. As soon as Paulding received these letters from Chatard 
and Walker he made ready to go to Greytown, where he arrived 
December 6. 

After making his camp on Punta Arenas, Walker waited for 
reinforcements which were expected to arrive under the leader- 
ship of Henningsen, and for news from Anderson, whom he had 
left with a company of men at the mouth of the Colorado River. 
It was Anderson's purpose to capture the river steamers, so as to 
allow Walker and his men to proceed to the interior. He reached 
the junction of the Colorado and San Juan before the rest of the 
men had landed at Punta Arenas, and thus was enabled to prevent 
the news of their arrival from reaching the forts and the steamers 
on the river. Anderson met with success from the start. By 
December 1 three river steamers and the lake steamer Virgen 

1 MS., Archives, Navy Department, Home Squadron, II., 59 £f. 


were in his hands, as well as Fort Castillo. Walker meanwhile 
waited impatiently for news from the men on the river, for their 
failure meant the ruin of his hopes. On December 4, when no 
news had arrived, he grew uneasy and sat up all night waiting for 
a courier from Anderson. All the next day he watched and 
waited, but still no news. The men began to show signs of dis- 
couragement; the Point at its best was only a dreary, desolate 
sand spit, and the terrific rains since their arrival had made it all 
the more disagreeable as a camping-ground. Late in the after- 
noon of this day, however, a canoe came in sight, and as it drew 
near one of Anderson's men was descried sitting in the stern, 
while the two men paddling the boat were visible evidence of 
Anderson's victories, being Costa Rican prisoners of war. "Huz- 
zah for Frank Anderson!" the occupant shouted as soon as he 
came within hearing distance. "We have taken the fort of 
Castillo, the river steamers, and the lake steamer Virgen without 
the loss of a man." The messenger announced that he had come 
within twelve miles of Greytown in one of the captured steamers, 
which had run aground, and he had been sent on with the news. 
The drooping spirits of the men at once revived, and in the fili- 
buster camp there were sounds of revelry by night.^ They would 
soon be leaving the dreary Point for the worldly paradise of the 

But when morning dawned there hove in sight the magnificent 
new steam frigate Wabash, fifty guns, with the broad pennant 
of Commodore Paulding at her fore. She came up the bay and 
anchored just outside the harbour, which was too shallow for her 
draft, and directly opposite the filibuster camp. On the next 
day came the United States steamer Fulton, making three Amer- 
ican men-of-war off the Point. On this day, too, came the ubiq- 
uitous Union Jack, borne by the British steam frigate Leopard, 
twenty guns, which dropped anchor close to the Saratoga, and the 

» New York Herald, Dec. 28, 1857. 


monster ship of war Brunsxdck, ninety guns, which hove to near 
the Wabash. The captains of the British vessels and the British 
consul dined that day with Paulding.^ 

The arrival of so many men-of-war caused the filibusters no 
little apprehension, but as the hours passed and nothing untoward 
occurred the men were assured that the American vessels were 
there only to watch the British and prevent any interference from 
that quarter. During the day several boats put out from the 
Saratoga and went up the river, but as these were supposed to 
be watering parties they attracted no particular attention, except 
from the experienced officers, who noted that the boats did not 
come back. Shortly after midnight Walker quietly sent Fays- 
soux up the river in a canoe to learn the object of the boats being 
there. He found that they were maintaining a blockade. This 
was kept from the men, but the next morning Fayssoux and 
Hornsby were sent to Paulding to protest. The Commodore 
told them that the river had been blockaded to prevent Walker's 
ascending it, and that he intended to make all the men prisoners 
and carry them back to the United States. The two filibuster 
officers were detained on the flagship, and preparations were made 
for landing a force on the Point.^ Three hundred marines and 
sailors were placed aboard the Fulton, the smallest of the vessels, 
to which Paulding transferred his flag, and she was taken in to the 
Transit Company's wharf. Here the men were landed and were 
marched to the rear of Walker's position. At the same time the 
Saratoga moved in and trained her broadside on the filibusters, 
and small boats with howitzers in their bows were ranged close in- 
shore directly in front of the camp. The demonstration of supe- 
rior force was well managed, and Walker, familiar with the events 
of the previous night, was not surprised at the movement. Be- 

» Rebecca Paulding Meade, Life of Hiram Paulding, Rear^ Admiral U.S.N., 
183 fif. (New York, 1910.) 

« New York Herald, Dec. 28, 1866. 


fore Paulding's arrangements were completed Walker had dis- 
missed his guard and disbanded his military organization, telling 
some of his more impetuous followers, who were spoiling for a 
fight, that resistance would be the height of folly. Paulding sent 
Captain Engle to Walker with a written demand for his surrender. 
The two met and shook hands, and Engle delivered his commu- 
nication. Walker read it without changing a muscle of his face, 
and then remarked, "I surrender to the United States." Engle 
then asked him to lower his flag, and Walker ordered one of his 
officers to do so. After further conversation Engle remarked, 
" General, I am sorry to see an officer of your ability employed in 
such a service. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to 
see you at the head of regular troops." Engle then ordered the 
naval forces back to their ships and returned to the Fulton, Several 
oral messages now passed between Paulding and Walker, and one 
of these, misunderstood by the bearer, greatly offended the Com- 
modore. He had tried to show W^alker some consideration, and 
sent him word that the officers and men would have separate 
quarters. Walker replied that he was asking no special benefits, 
and Paulding, regarding this as a piece of impudence, commanded 
his immediate embarkation upon the Fulton. What followed 
may best be told in Paulding's own words, in a letter to his wife : 
"Upon this [order to embark] he came to see me, and this lion- 
hearted devil, who had so often destroyed the lives of other men, 
came to me, humbled himself and wept like a child. You 
may suppose it made a woman of me, and I have had him in the 
cabin since as my guest. We laugh and talk as though nothing 
had happened, and you would think, to see him with the captain 
and myself, that he was one of us. He is a sharp fellow and re- 
quires a sharp fellow to deal with him. I have taken strong 
measures in forcing him from a neutral territory. It may make 
me President or may cost me my commission." ^ 

1 Meade, Life of Hiram Paulding, 183 ff. 


There was something almost dramatic in the meeting of these 
two men for the first time, and the officers and crew could barely 
conceal their excitement as the filibuster stepped on the deck of 
the Fulton. The gigantic frame of the Commodore in uniform 
contrasted strangely with the slight figure of the General in sombre 
civilian garb ; and observers noted that Walker's eyes were very 
red, an indication, as Paulding himself has testified, that his 
emotions had gotten the better of him. 

It was the irony of fate that just as Walker surrendered to 
Engle, and his red-starred flag was hauled down, the belated river 
steamer, which had gone aground twelve miles up the stream, came 
in sight with twelve filibusters and thirty Costa Rican prisoners 
aboard. A detachment of marines seized the boat, liberated the 
prisoners, captured the filibusters, and placed the steamer in the 
keeping of the United States commercial agent at Greytown. 
C. J. McDonald, the agent of Morgan and Garrison, who had 
accompanied Walker to Nicaragua, claimed the steamer on behalf 
of his principals, but Paulding declined to adjudicate the matter. 

When Walker surrendered, some forty of his men took to the 
chaparral, intending to make their way up the river and join 
Anderson. On the following day the marines beat around the 
dense undergrowth and by night had rounded up thirty-two of 
them. The rest had taken a boat and gone up the river. On 
the night after the surrender the denizens of Greytown came 
over and plundered the camp to their heart's content. Much that 
they could not take way they buried for future use. The camp 
stores that remained were placed aboard the Wabash to be turned 
over to the United States authorities. In the excitement inci- 
dent to the surrender many of Walker's followers had destroyed 
their arms. 

The officers and men, with the exception of Walker and John 
Tabor, were placed aboard the Saratoga, and on the 12th, less 
than a month after their departure from Mobile, were on their 


way back to the United States. Walker was not placed aboard 
this vessel on account of the ill-feeling between him and Com- 
mander Chatard. The Saratoga took the men and officers to 
Norfolk, while the Wabash returned to her station at Aspinwall.^ 

Walker gave his parole to Paulding to return to the United 
States on the regular mail steamer and to surrender himself on 
reaching New York to the United States marshal. His conduct 
on the Wahash was in complete contrast with his attitude toward 
the officers on the St. Mary's after his surrender to Davis. On 
the latter vessel he had been morose, insolent, and overbearing, 
while he was now genial and conciliatory. As he reached Aspin- 
wall five days before the scheduled departure of the New York 
steamer, Paulding endeavoured to persuade him to remain on the 
ship, where he would have better quarters than on shore, but he 
declined to remain even for another meal after the vessel had cast 
anchor, and took a room at one of the town's indifferent hotels. 
Here he remained most of the time in seclusion, occupying himself 
with writing, but taking an occasional stroll to the railway com- 
pany's workshops for recreation. 

When the Wabash steamed away from Greytown Anderson was 
still up the river. The Fulton was sent to the mouth of the Col- 
orado, and the Susquehanna, which had just arrived, was sta- 
tioned at the mouth of the San Juan to prevent the escape of 
Anderson and his men and the landing of any reinforcements for 
Walker that might be on their way from the United States. On 
hearing of Walker's capture Anderson abandoned Castillo, spiking 
the guns and destroying the frame buildings, and placed his force 
on board the steamer Ogden. On December 20 he sent a letter 
to Captain Sands, commanding the Susquehanna, stating that he 
wished to disband his command, and inquiring whether they would 
be permitted to enter Greytown. Most of them, he stated, wished 

1 Among the "filibusters" returning on the Saratoga was a Mrs. Buttrick and her 
three children. Her husband was a captain in Walker's service. 


to return to the United States. Sands replied that he would 
send back to the United States any man who would surrender to 
him on board his ship.^ On the 24th Sands took his boats' crews 
up the river, towed by the steamer recently seized by Paulding, 
and captured the remnants of the fQibusters on the Ogden. An- 
derson surrendered under protest. The command, numbering 
forty-five, were taken to Aspinwall in the Fulton and there trans- 
ferred to the Wabash. Paulding put them ashore at Key West, 
and Walker's third filibustering expedition was a thing of the 

* MS., Archives Navy Department, Home Squadron, II., 67 flf. 
« Ibid., 71, 74-6 ; Senate Ex. Doc. 63, 35 Cong., 1 Sess. 

The Walker-Paulding Imbroglio 

Walker arrived in New York from Aspinwall on Sunday night, 
December 27, by the steamer Northern Light, and went at once 
to the residence of Henningsen in Twelfth Street. His old com- 
panion in arms was in Washington at this time, but Mrs. Hen- 
ningsen was on hand to give him a welcome. The following morn- 
ing, in accordance with his parole, he presented himself to the 
United States marshal, who was none other than his great friend 
and admirer, Isaiah Rynders. It was Rynders who had been a 
moving spirit in promoting the various public meetings in New 
York in behalf of Walker's cause during the previous year. 
Walker was accompanied by his counsel, Thomas Francis Meagher, 
Malcolm Campbell, and General Wheat. As they entered the 
office Rynders grasped Walker's hand and said, "I am happy to 
see you. General, as Captain Rynders, but as United States mar- 
shal I cannot say that." The filibuster general quietly returned 
his greeting and handed him a letter from Paulding assigning 
Walker to the marshal's custody. As Rynders had neither a 
warrant nor instructions to arrest Walker, he was puzzled as to 
what course he should pursue. He took his prisoner aside, and 
after some consultation it was agreed that they should go to Wash- 
ington together and lay the case before the administration. As 
soon as this matter was disposed of Walker met the newspaper 
reporters. Though it takes much to surprise men of this calling, 
they listened in amazement while he coolly discussed Paulding's 
invasion of the territory of a friendly power and his insult to its 
flag. It was the duty of the American government, he said, to 


return his men to the place from which they had been forcibly 
removed, and to salute the flag of Nicaragua for the insult it had 
received.^ He was the most composed and self-possessed person 
in the room, and also the most insignificant, so far as external 
appearances went. 

Shortly after reaching Washington, Walker and Rynders called 
on Secretary Cass, and the marshal stated the conditions under 
which he held his friend as a prisoner. Cass declared that the 
executive department had no right to detain Walker in custody, 
and that regular legal proceedings would have to be instituted 
before he could be arrested for violating the neutrality law. The 
marshal then notified Walker that he was no longer in custody. 
Walker's release was regarded as the administration's disavowal 
of Paulding's act. The arrest of the filibusters by an American 
officer on Nicaraguan soil called forth a number of different opin- 
ions. The abolitionists naturally applauded the deed, and were 
fully satisfied in stating that Paulding had acted in obedience to 
the "higher law." On the other hand, indignation meetings were 
held in all the principal cities of the South, at which resolutions 
were adopted remarkable chiefly for their fervid language.^ Sev- 
eral Southern Congressmen gave notice that they would introduce 
a resolution that Walker be returned to Nicaragua in a national 
vessel. Their leaders, however, were in a dilemma, fearing to 
take issue too strongly with the administration lest they endanger 
its support of their position on the Kansas question.^ The decided 

» New York Herald, Dec. 29, 1857. 

»At a meeting [in New Orleans, Dec. 31, 1857, it was resolved, "That this 
meeting unanimously condemns the conduct of Paulding in this proceeding as being 
without excuse, and without precedent in the history of any civilized country, con- 
trary to the law of nations, and deserving the condign punishment of the United 
States," and "that in the opinion of this meeting it is the imperative duty of this 
government to restore General Walker and his captive companions to the country 
from which they have been so unlawfully taken by irresistible force ; and also fully 
to indemnify them for all losses they have sustained from capture, detention and 
privation of liberty and property." New York Times, Jan. 9, 1868. 

* See Alexander Stephens's letters to his brother Linton, in Johnston and Browne, 
Life of Alexander Stephens, 328-9. (Philadelphia, 1878.) 


opposition of Buchanan and his cabinet to the Walker enterprise 
had been a surprise to the entire country. It had been freely 
predicted that with the outgoing of Pierce and Marcy the JSlibus- 
ters would find easier sailing. Buchanan, as one of the joint 
authors of the Ostend Manifesto, favoured the acquisition of Cuba, 
even by force if such a proceeding were essential to the internal 
peace and the preservation of the Union. Moreover, he had 
accepted a nomination and had been elected on a platform 
which expressly sympathized with the efforts being made to 
"regenerate" Central America. "Quae te, genitor, sententia 
vertit?" was a question running in the minds of Southern 

The first public expression of the President's real opinion of the 
Walker enterprise appeared in his first annual message to Congress 
on December 8, 1857, submitted shortly after the escape of the 
Fashion from Mobile. Referring to this incident, he declared, 
"Such enterprises can do no possible good to the country, but 
have already inflicted much injury, both on its interests and its 
character." He urged Congress to adopt such measures "as will 
be effectual in restraining our citizens from committing such 
outrages," which "the most eminent writers on public law do 
not hesitate to denounce as robbery and murder." ^ Buchanan 
soon had an opportunity to explain his position more fully. On 
January 4, 1858, the Senate passed a resolution calling for "the 
correspondence, instructions and orders to the United States 
naval forces on the coast of Central America, connected with the 
arrest of William Walker and his associates." ^ The transmission 
of this information the President made the occasion for a special 
message, in which he declared that Paulding, in landing an armed 
force on Nicaraguan soil, had committed "a grave error," which 
should not go unnoticed lest it be construed as a precedent. It 

1 Messages and Papers of the Presidents, V., 447-8. 
» Congressional Globe, 36 Cong., 1 Sess., pt. 1, 179. 


was evident, however, that the Commodore, whom he referred 
to as "a gallant officer," had acted "from pure and patriotic 
motives and in the sincere conviction that he was promoting the 
interest and vindicating the honour of his country." While his 
act was a violation of her sovereignty, Nicaragua had sustained 
no injury therefrom, but rather had been benefited by the re- 
moval of a hostile invader ; and that State alone had any right to 
complain. Walker, himself an invader, could not complain of 
the invasion by Paulding. If the naval officer had arrested 
Walker at any time before he entered the port he would have been 
wholly justified and have performed a praiseworthy act, as the 
eighth section of the neutrality law empowered the President to 
use the land and naval forces of the United States to prevent the 
"carrying on" of such expeditions to their consummation after 
they had succeeded in leaving the country. The President then 
took occasion to avow his determination to enforce the law. 
He reiterated his belief in the "manifest destiny" of the American 
people to dominate the affairs of the western hemisphere, but 
designated Walker's enterprise as a crime, defeating the object 
at which it expressly aimed. "Had one half the number of 
American citizens who have miserably perished in the first dis- 
astrous expedition of General Walker settled in Nicaragua as 
peaceful emigrants, the object which we all desire would ere this 
have been in a great degree accomplished." It would be better, he 
declared, for the government itself to undertake such enterprises 
than to allow them to proceed under the command of irresponsible 
adventurers. Such lawless expeditions had the further bad effect 
of interfering at every step with the conduct of foreign affairs with 
Central American governments.^ 

No one was more surprised at the President's attitude than 
Walker himself. At the time of his arrest he solemnly assured 
Paulding that he was acting with the full sanction of the Presi- 

1 Messagea and Papers of the Presidents, V., 46&-9. 


dent; but the Commodore could not make himself believe it.^ 
Soon after reaching the United States and finding himself publicly 
proclaimed at Washington as a lawless adventurer, a robber, and 
a murderer, he addressed an open letter to Buchanan, protesting 
against the President's harsh criticism of him and his men and 
calling attention to the fact that many of his officers had served 
with distinction during the Mexican War and that one of them 
had been rewarded for " the first planting of your colours upon the 
heights of Cerro Gordo." ^ He showed that his vessel's papers 
were correct in every particular, and that even if his party were 
belligerents against a power with which the United States was 
at peace, they were beyond the right of the United States to in- 
terfere as soon as they reached the high seas, as " the owners of a 
neutral vessel had a clear right to carry warlike persons as well as 
contraband of war, subject only to the risk of capture by the 
enemy's cruisers." He concluded his letter by boldly avowing 
his intention to return to Nicaragua.^ 

Walker remained but a few days in Washington, and then 
started for the South. This was the only section to which he 
now could make an effective appeal. It was generally supposed 
in the North that he could not survive his last misfortune. The 
masses were inclined to regard success as a proof of a righteous 
cause, and two failures made the filibuster a reprobate. This 
idea was by no means confined to the North. A Florida news- 

1 Meade, Life of Hiram Paulding, 183 ff. 

« This was Thomas Henry, sergeant of the 7th Infantry, U.S.A., 1838-47 ; 
second lieutenant in May, 1847, and breveted first lieutenant for gallant and meri- 
torious conduct at Contreras and Cherubusco, August 20, 1847. Heitman, His- 
torical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, I., 524. 

' " As long as there is a Central American exiled from his native land, and deprived 
of his property and civil rights for the services he rendered us in evil as well as good 
report, so long shall our time and our energies be devoted to the work of their res- 
toration. As long as the bones of our companions in arms, murdered by a barba- 
rous decree of the Costa Rican government, lie bleaching and unburied on the hill- 
sides of Nicaragua, so long shall our brains contrive and our hands labour for the 
justice which one day we will surely obtain." Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 283 ; 
Harper's Weekly, II., 38. 


paper, for instance, declared : "At first we felt inclined to bid him 
Godspeed, but the belief is now fast becoming general that the 
'man of destiny* has had his day, and that he will not again be 
allowed an opportunity to trifle away the lives and fortunes of 
his fellow citizens. With all the advantages in his favour, his 
present position and that of Nicaragua fully attest that he was 
not the man for the crisis. We trust the administration will 
enforce our neutrality laws to the letter." ^ 

In like manner at a Democratic meeting in Montgomery on 
January 26 Henry W. Hilliard, a former Congressman from 
Alabama and at one time charge d'affaires in Belgium, declared 
that even if Walker were de jure President of Nicaragua he would 
have no right to recruit forces for his service and organize them 
within the boundaries of the United States, and that it was the 
duty of the American government to prevent any such violation 
of the law. William L. Yancey, however, who represented the 
extreme Southern wing of the Democratic party, challenged this 
view. "Every American citizen," said he, "has a right to ex- 
patriate himself. If one can go a thousand can go, all with com- 
mon intent, if they do not organize an anned expedition here. 
The republican foundations of the State of Texas were laid and 
cemented on this great American principle, and I understand that 
General Walker and his compatriots have been careful to keep 
within the scope and spirit of this principle. If so the President 
had no right to arrest him [even] on the high seas." ^ It is evident 
that few Southerners were so confident as Yancey that Walker 
was guiltless of violating the neutrality laws, or the Southern press 
would not have raised such a clamour for their repeal.^ 

Walker's progress southward was more like that of a conquering 
hero than of a fallen filibuster. At Richmond, Montgomery, and 

1 Apalachicola (Fla.) Advertiser, quoted in the New York Herald, Deo, 14, 1867. 

» Montgomery Advertiser, Jan. 28, 1858. 

* See, for example, the Montgomery Advertiser of Jan. 14, 1858. 


Mobile he was dined and feted, and prominent citizens vied in 
doing him honour. He announced that he was on his way to 
New Orleans to demand a trial for the offence for which he had been 
arrested on the eve of his departure. At Mobile he delivered an 
address purporting to be an exposure of his relations with the 
Buchanan administration and an explanation of its recent hos- 
tility to his enterprise. He referred to his visit to the President 
by special appointment the previous June, and asked why, if he 
were the lawless person referred to in the President's messages, 
he should have been received at the White House as an equal. 
The President and his cabinet were friendly, he said, until Sep- 
tember, when the government's Nicaraguan policy was sud- 
denly changed. He declared that their motives were not disin- 
terested ; that Buchanan had set his heart upon the scheme for a 
railway and canal across the isthmus of Tehuantepec, fostered 
during the summer of 1857 by Emile La Sere and Judah P. Ben- 
jamin of New Orleans ; that Pierre Soule had accompanied these 
gentlemen to Mexico and thrown obstacles in the way of their 
enterprise; and that the administration was now seeking to 
revenge itself upon Soule, who was regarded as Walker's chief 
sponsor, by blocking further efforts to Americanize Nicaragua, 
where Soule had invested considerable capital.^ That Soule had 
blocked some of the schemes of Benjamin and La Sere in Mexico 
is true; and that Buchanan was highly enthusiastic over the 
Tehuantepec scheme and resentful of any effort to thwart it is 
also true; but whether his resentment were sufficient to cause 
him to seek to strike Soule by crippling Walker is another story. 
It is a question not of facts but of motives, and one upon which 
documents throw no light. It is certain, however, that the ad- 
ministration had shown its hostility before the results of the 
mission of Benjamin and Soule were known at Washington, as 

1 Mobile Mercury, Jan. 26 ; Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 295 ; New York Herald, 
Feb. 2, 1858. 


the Tehuantepec promoters did not return to New Orleans until 
October/ whereas Cass's circular letter enjoining vigilance on 
the part of the Federal officers in checking unlawful expeditions 
was issued on September 18. The Soule-Benjamin episode 
therefore could only have given Buchanan another count at the 
most against the Nicaraguan filibusters, if it influenced the con- 
duct of the administration at all. 

But the foregoing was not the only disclosure which Walker 
made in his speech at Mobile. While the administration would 
kill off the Nicaraguan enterprise, it was not hostile, he said, to 
filibustering in another quarter, and was perfectly willing to leave 
Walker unmolested if he would conduct his operations according 
to the President's ideas. Walker claimed that John B. Floyd, 
the Secretary of War, had consulted with Henningsen and urged 
that the filibusters abandon the Nicaraguan enterprise for the 
present and turn their attention to Mexico. They were to enter 
the military service of that country and precipitate a war with 
Spain by some hostile act toward that nation; and as soon as 
hostilities began they were to seize Cuba.^ Walker declared that 
the President's change of front and abuse of him in his public ut- 
terances had freed him from any further obligation to keep these 
facts secret, and that the public was entitled to hear both sides 
of the controversy. Buchanan's enthusiasm for the Tehuantepec 
scheme, and his views on the annexation of Cuba accorded so well 
with Walker's story that even many of the filibuster's opponents 
were inclined to give it full credit. Of the conferences between 
Henningsen and Secretary Floyd there can be no doubt, but 
whether Henningsen understood fully the nature of the Secre- 
tary's proposals and whether Floyd was authorized to speak for 

^ For an account of the administration's interest in the Tehuantepec project, see 
Pierce Butler, Judah P. Benjamin, 185-90. 

•Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 295; New York Herald, Feb. 2, 1858, quoting 
Mobile Mercury, Jan. 26; New York Times, Feb. 2, 1868; Edinburgh Review, 
CXII., 566-7. 


the President, even if he so declared to Henningsen, are matters 
upon which we need more information before passing final judg- 
ment upon the merits of the filibuster's "disclosures." Floyd 
met the story with a flat denial.^ 

In the meantime the Walker-Paulding imbroglio was having 
an airing in both houses of Congress. The Senate, as we have 
seen, had called on the President for the correspondence and 
instructions of naval oflScers on the coast of Central America con- 
cerning the arrest of Walker; and the House, on January 12, 
went further and called for all the information in the President's 
possession concerning Walker's second expedition to Nicaragua, 
which could be submitted without detriment to the public interest. 
Debate in the House had already begun eight days previously, 
and was to continue in both branches, with certain intervals of 
suspension, for five months. It is useless to go into the details 
of the various arguments presented. Those of the administration's 
critics may be briefly summarized as follows: (1) Walker was 
guilty of no violation of the neutrality law, as the expedition was 
not organized on a military basis within the jurisdiction of the 
United States. (2) Even if this were the case, the emigrants could 
not be lawfully molested once they had reached the high seas, as the 
laws of a nation are not in effect at a distance exceeding a marine 
league from its shores. (3) Neither Chatard nor Paulding, there- 
fore, had any right to interfere with Walker in the harbour of 
Greytown or on the high seas,^ and in removing Chatard for not 
acting and censuring Paulding for acting the administration was 
guilty of gross inconsistency. The act of landing an armed 
force would be no greater breach of Nicaraguan sovereignty than 
the act of forcibly preventing their landing. What would we say 

^ New Orleans Picayune, July 22, 1858. 

* It will be recalled that Commander Davis refused to prevent the landing of 
recruits for Walker at San Juan del Sur, when requested to do so by the allies, on the 
ground that it was not his duty to enforce the laws of the United States within the 
territorial jurisdiction of a foreign power. See above, p. 294. 


if a British officer had acted as Paulding did ? There was danger 
now that the British would make this a precedent. (5) The fact 
that Nicaragua did not complain was no justification of Pauld- 
ing's act. That matter was beside the point. Louis Philippe 
would not have complained either if an American naval officer 
had landed a force in France and aided him in putting down the 
revolution of 1848. (6) And finally, even Nicaragua's full consent 
to the arrest, previously obtained, would not ipso facto empower 
the President to authorize the seizure unless he had previously re- 
ceived such authority by an act of Congress. 

It is interesting to note that many of those who held these 
views had little or no sympathy with Walker himself. Senator 
Stephen A. Douglas, for instance, who gave a very clear-cut ex- 
position of his views, declared, "I have no fancy for this system 
of filibustering. I believe its tendency is to defeat the very object 
they have in view, to wit : the enlargement of the area of freedom 
and the flag." ^ Jefferson Davis expressed similar views. Even 
if we had had an extradition treaty with Nicaragua, we could not 
have done what Paulding did. Still he had, apparently, a very 
poor opinion of Walker. "I know nothing of him. I have no 
sympathy with such expeditions. I think we should execute our 
neutrality law within our own limits." If it is desirable to have 
the President order the patrol of the high seas, the law should 
be amended so as to permit it.^ Senator Pugh, of Ohio, did not 
think much of Walker, but declared that the worst men often 
represent in their persons great principles, and Walker represented 
the right of an American to expatriate himself. Walker's chief 
defenders were Brown, of Mississippi, and Toombs, of Georgia, 
in the Senate, and Stephens, of Georgia, Clingman, of North Caro- 
lina, Warren, of Arkansas, Taylor, of Louisiana, and Quitman, 
of Mississippi, in the House.^ Critics of Walker were found among 

» Congreaaional Globe, 35 Cong., 1 Sesa., 223. 
« Ibid., 217. • Ibid., passim. 


both the Northern and Southern delegations. The same is true 
with regard to defenders of Paulding, though the latter got only 
occasional commendation from the South. Senator Mallory, of 
Florida, was one of Paulding's warmest defenders. He knew the 
Commodore personally and regarded him as one of the brightest 
ornaments of the service. " The instructions were vague and might 
be interpreted so as to authorize this action." Mr. ZoUicoffer, of 
Tennessee, also was inclined to blame the author of the instruc- 
tions rather than the man who tried to carry them out.^ If Cha- 
tard could lawfully have prevented the landing in a neutral port, 
Paulding could lawfully have landed a force and broken up the 
expedition after it landed. Wright, of Georgia, sought to secure 
consideration of a set of resolutions declaring the arrest unlawful 
but in accordance with the instructions of the Secretary of the 
Navy.^ Senator Crittenden, of Kentucky, was among those who 
denied that Paulding had committed a grave error. Other de- 
fenders of the naval oflScer were Messrs. Ritchie, of Pennsylvania, 
Thompson, Pottle, and Palmer, of New York, Curtis, of Iowa, 
and Montgomery, of Pennsylvania. In the Senate, Doolittle, of 
Wisconsin, introduced a joint resolution directing the presentation 
of a gold medal to Paulding, for his conduct in removing the 
filibusters from Nicaragua. Brown, of Mississippi, immediately 
moved to strike out all but the enacting clause and substitute a 
resolution disavowing and condemning the officer's action.^ When- 
ever this resolution came up for discussion it precipitated such a 
flood of debate that its consideration would be postponed; and 
it finally was talked to death. 

Paulding's defenders based their arguments on the following 
grounds : (1) Walker was a fugitive from justice, and an American 
officer had a right to arrest him anywhere, with the consent of 
the country in which he had sought an asylum. (2) This consent 

1 Congressional Globe, 35 Cong., 1 Sesa., 284. 

« Ibid., Appendix, 458. » Ibid., 265. 


had practically been given in the note of Molina and Irisarri of 
September 14, when they asked that a naval force be stationed 
off the coast to prevent the filibusters from landing. Neither of 
these gentlemen at that time was entitled to speak officially for 
Nicaragua, it is true, but on November 15, three weeks before 
Walker's arrest, Irisarri had been formally received as the repre- 
sentative of that country. (3) Even if there were no previous 
consent, the point at which Walker disembarked was an unin- 
habited barren waste, over which no country had ever effectively 
extended its jurisdiction, and the landing of an armed force there 
was no real violation of foreign territory. (4) Finally, the United 
States was responsible to any friendly power for an armed invasion 
of its territory by American citizens, and because of its responsibil- 
ity it was justified in taking the measures necessary to break it up. 
Palmer, of New York, declared that if Paulding committed " a 
grave error," it was in not leaving Walker to the justice of the 
country to which he had migrated.^ Montgomery, of Pennsyl- 
vania, said that if it were an invasion to take Walker away, would 
it not be another invasion to take him back, as some of his friends 
were urging should be done. Still, in his own opinion, it would 
be a good plan for the government to take him back and allow 
him to test the affection of the Nicaraguans. If they really de- 
sired his return, he would need no military expedition to accompany 
him. 2 The debate showed much conflict of opinion. The friends 
of neither Walker nor Paulding accepted the viewpoint of the 
administration, and consequently subjected Buchanan to severe 
criticism. At the same time, many who agreed with the Presi- 
dent in condemning both the filibuster and the Commodore 
strongly disapproved the government's method of dealing with 
the case. Strange to say, among the small number who sided 
with the President was William H. Seward, who defended Bu- 
chanan's whole course in the matter except his allowing Walker to 

1 Congressumal Globe, 35 Cong., 1 Seas., 300. * Ibid., 281. 


go free when he presented himself as a prisoner at Washington. 
Seward evoked much laughter in the Senate in declaring that he 
was glad to see the President in his message championing "the 
higher law/' a proceeding that was regarded as the New York 
Senator's special prerogative. 

The most striking feature in the debates was the indication that 
Walker did not enjoy the united support of the Southern members. 
This has already been indicated to some extent in preceding 
paragraphs. Walker received no severer castigation than came 
from Southern tongues. Lamar, of Mississippi, said: "While I 
am a Southern man, thoroughly imbued with the spirit of my 
section, I will never consent to submit the fate of our noble in- 
stitutions to the hands of marauding bands, or violate their sanc- 
tity by identifying their progress with the success of unlawful 
expeditions." He declared that he would consent to no new 
schemes of territorial acquisition until the question of the right of 
the South to extend her institutions into territory already within 
the Union had been practically and satisfactorily settled. This 
presented a question " before whose colossal magnitude the wrongs 
of Walker and the criminality of Paulding sink into insignificance." ^ 
Hawkins, of Florida, declared, " I have but small faith in the star 
of ^the grey-eyed man of destiny,' for it shines dimmed and pale, 
receiving or borrowing no lustre from his civic or military talents. 
That he possesses uncommon personal courage, force of will, and 
firmness under difficulties there is no doubt ; but these attributes 
of character appear unaccompanied by the requisite knowledge 
of the art of war, the gift of gaining the affection of his troops, 
and the enforcement of a salutary discipline, save by acts of ex- 
treme and probably unnecessary severity." ^ Winslow, of North 
Carolina, spoke in a similar vein, declaring that such enterprises 

1 Congressional Globe, 36 Cong., 1 Sess., 279. In the appendix to the Congressional 
Globe this speech is published in revised form, and its tone is much milder, 
» Ibid., Appendix, 461. 


tended to degrade the American character and alienate from us the 
weak powers of the continent. "If the acquisition of Nicaragua 
is necessary for our safety and happiness, let us acquire it in a 
manly and open warfare; do not let us 'set the dogs' on her." ^ 
The severest arraignment, however, came from Senator Slidell, 
of Louisiana, regarded as the mouthpiece of the Buchanan ad- 
ministration. Paulding received some censure, but the denunci- 
ation of Walker was unsparing. The Commodore, by his high- 
handed action, had succeeded only in arousing a false sympathy 
for the filibuster and had given him a martyr's crown. " Pseudo- 
martyrs have, in all ages, found devotees to worship at their 
shrine." He referred to Walker sarcastically as "a new William 
the Conqueror ; " declared his election a farce, ** played with the 
soothing accompaniment of the bayonet," and that his whole 
career was marked by rapine and blood. He was no soldier ; he 
had reviled the man who had saved him from an ignominious 
death ; his very name was mentioned with dread by the whole of 
Central America. Slidell defended the administration in its dis- 
placing of Chatard for not acting against the filibusters while 
censuring Paulding for acting. Chatard, he said, should have 
arrested Walker and his followers on board the Fashion. This 
was an American vessel flying the American flag, and was there- 
fore a bit of American territory wherever it might be. The or- 
ganization of an armed expedition on the decks of this steamer 
was therefore a violation of the neutrality law, and its voyage was 
illicit. As long as the filibusters were on board the Fashion they 
were subject to arrest, but once they had stepped on foreign soil 
they were beyond the jurisdiction of the United States.^ This 
was meant to be the administration's answer to its many critics, 
but its chief interest lies in the fact that it was spoken by a Senator 
representing a region where filibustering had hitherto received its 
strongest support. 

* Conoreaaional Globe, 35 Cong.. 1 Seas., Appendix, 504. * Ibid., 1538. 


The reaction against Walker both North and South amply 
attests the truth of the old adage that "nothing succeeds like 
success." When Slidell made his speech in the Senate less than 
twelve months had passed since Lewis Cass, now Secretary of 
State, had declared that "the heroic effort of our countrymen in 
Nicaragua excites my admiration, while it engages all my solici- 
tude. I am not to be deterred from the expression of these feel- 
ings by sneers, or reproaches, or hard words. He who does not 
sympathize with such an enterprise has little in common with me." * 
A few months had wrought great changes. Politicians were no 
longer willing to hitch their wagon to a falling star. The infor- 
mation transmitted to the two Houses of Congress by the Presi- 
dent was referred in the Senate to the Committee on Foreign Af- 
fairs and to the similar committee in the House, except the part 
dealing with naval orders and instructions, which was referred to 
the Committee on Naval Affairs. The reports of these com- 
mittees merely reechoed the views expressed in the message of 
the President.^ 

After his censure by Buchanan, Paulding was relieved from duty 
and replaced by Commodore Mcintosh. During the remainder 
of this administration he was in virtual retirement, and was made 
a defendant in several lawsuits brought by the thwarted fili- 

It was at least some comfort to him, however, to know that he 
had the gratitude of Nicaragua. Before his return to the United 
States General Jerez, Walker's former companion in arms and 
cabinet minister, visited the Commodore on the Wabash and 
thanked him very profusely for the removal of the filibusters.'* 

» New York Times, May 24, 1856. 

» See Senate Report 20, and House Report 74, 35 Cong., 1 Seas. Three members 
of the House Committee on Naval Affairs, however, presented a minority report 
commending Paulding. 

» Congressional Globe, 35 Cong., 1 Sess., 1539 ; Meade, Life of Hiram Paulding, 

* Senate Doc. 10, 35 Cong., 2 Sesa. 


A formal letter of thanks also came from the Nicaraguan 
Minister of Foreign Relations, who spoke in behalf of his 
government. Senor Irisarri also expressed to Cass the thanks of 
the Nicaraguan government for the conduct of Paulding.^ The 
republic of Nicaragua voted Paulding a jewelled sword and 
twenty caballerias (about 670 acres) of land, and Congress in 1861 
gave him permission to receive the sword but not the land, as 
the acceptance of the latter gift might prove a dangerous prece- 
dent.^ While we may appreciate this oflScer's motives, we must 
agree with the administration in censuring his act, and this regard- 
less of any question of the merits or demerits of filibustering. 
Paulding himself, as has been shown already, admitted in a letter 
to his wife that he had taken a very high hand. In his official 
report to the Secretary of the Navy he made no attempt to justify 
his conduct on the basis of his instructions, but stated that he 
" could not regard Walker and his followers in any other light than 
as outlaws who had escaped from the vigilance of the government 
and left our shores for the purpose of rapine and murder, and I saw 
no other way to vindicate the law and redeem the honour of our 
country than by disanning them and sending them home. In 
doing so I am fully sensible of the responsibility I have incurred 
and confidently look to the government for my justification. . . . 
Humanity, as well as law and justice and national honour, de- 
manded the dispersion of these lawless men." ^ If Paulding sin- 
cerely believed that Walker was an outlaw and pirate, bent on 
rapine and murder, why did he address him as "General," share 
with him his mess and cabin, and send him all the way from 
Aspinwall to New York on his mere parole of honour ? A number 
of journals ascribed Paulding's act merely to pique because his 

* Congressional Globe, 35 Cong., 1 Sess., 357. 

* MS., Archives, State Department, Notes from Department, Central America, 
I., 200; Notes to Department, Nicaraguan Legation (1862-67); Meade, Life of 
Hiram Paulding, 198-9. 

* MS., Archives, Navy Department, Home Squadron, II., 61. 


squadron had been outwitted, and the filibuster had dared to 
"talk back'' to a captain in the service.^ Others ascribed it to the 
influence of the two British commanders who had dined with 
the American commodore on the day preceding the arrest. In- 
deed, the commander of the Brunswick offered to cooperate with 
Paulding in removing the party from Punta Arenas, but Paulding 
declined his offer.^ It has also been pointed out that Paulding 
was a warm friend of Commander Davis, and had been offended 
by Walker's criticism of that officer.^ Among the officers in the 
navy there was a strong esprit de corps, and they were quick to 
resent the aspersions of an outsider. It will be recalled, also, 
that during the previous summer Paulding had been compelled 
to carry home from Aspinwall a large number of survivors of the 
siege of Rivas, and their sufferings and destitution were still vivid 
pictures in his memory. It is probable that his conduct was 
guided somewhat by all of these facts, and that his motives were 
really more complex then he would be willing to admit. At any 
rate, such conduct, whatever the motive, should not have gone 
unrebuked. In censuring Paulding the administration was only 
following the precedent established in the case of Commodore 
David N. Porter, who in 1825 landed a naval force in Porto Rico 
and compelled the alcalde of a village to apologize for the insults 
offered to an American naval officer. For this Porter was cen- 
sured and suspended from service. There are times, indeed, 
when an officer is justified in breaking his instructions, times of 
great crisis when immediate action is imperative and obedience 
to instructions would mean disaster. Paulding was confronted by 
no such situation. He might, on arriving in the port and finding 
the filibusters landed, have cut off reinforcements and when An- 
derson seized the steamers and sent them down the river to convey 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 273 ; 278-9. 

2 MS., Archives Navy Department, Home Squadron, II., 61. 
8 Roche, Byways of War, 213-14. 


the filibusters to the interior he might have seized these also in 
accordance with instructions to protect American property. This 
would have quickly reduced the filibusters to voluntary submis- 
sion and prevented their being regarded as martyrs. 

It is interesting to note that a little over two years before Walk- 
er's arrest William L. Marcy, then Secretary of State and no 
friend of the filibusters, had occasion to give an opinion on an 
hypothetical case very similar to that involved in Walker's third 
expedition. Senor Marcoleta, the minister from Nicaragua, in the 
summer of 1855, shortly after the departure of Walker and Kin- 
ney, addressed the State Department and asked that an American 
vessel be stationed in the harbour of Greytown to prevent the land- 
ing of arms and supplies for the filibusters then in his country. 
Marcy replied on August 11 that if an armed expedition es- 
caped from the territories of the United States and entered the 
boundaries of a foreign State, it could not be pursued thither and 
seized when within the territory of another State. A vessel of the 
United States in the port of San Juan " could not, without as- 
suming illegal power involving the rights of that State, interpose 
to prevent the disembarkation of arms, ammunition, or other 
articles to which reasonable suspicions were attached." A com- 
pliance with such a request "would be an open invasion of the 
sovereign rights of Nicaragua, and lead to acts toward individuals 
by the United States which could not be justified by any munici- 
pal or international law." ^ 

It will thus be seen that Marcy in 1855 held the same views that 
Stephen A. Douglas and Jefferson Davis held in 1858. None of 
these men can be accused of leanings toward filibustering. Next 
it should be observed that Secretary Toucey ordered his naval 
oflBcers to do the very thing that Marcy expressly declared that 
they had no legal right to do ; namely, hold up illegal expeditions in 

* MS., Archives, State Department, Notes from Department, Central America, 
I., 85-7. 


Central American ports and prevent their landing. This shows a 
distinct step in advance by the government in repressing fili- 
bustering, and it had the full approval of Buchanan. Yet this 
Executive has been roundly accused many times of winking at 
such enterprises ! It is certain that the chief of filibusters did 
not regard him as a friend of his enterprise. Neither did the 
British minister. On November 16, immediately after hearing 
of the sailing of the Fashion, Lord Napier, the British minister 
to the United States, wrote to Lord Clarendon : " I beHeve that 
the President and General Cass sincerely deprecate and regret 
the present attempt to invade the peace of Central America." ^ 
Coming from such a source, this, if not praise, was at least excul- 
pation from the throne. Two months later Sir William Gore 
Ouseley, en route to Central America as a special commissioner 
of the British government, held a consultation with Buchanan. 
His impressions were not different from Napier's. The President 
assured him of his determination to put down filibustering and 
declared that the majority of respectable and thinking men in 
this country were on his side. "I have every reason," wrote Sir 
William, " to rely on the literal truth of the President's assurances 
as to his own feelings respecting filibustering; and my own ob- 
servation quite confirms his Excellency's opinion as to the sense 
of the majority of influential men in this country, including the 
Southern and slave-holding States, being ready to support his 
acts." 2 

A year later we find Buchanan not only repudiating filibuster- 
ism but also scouting the idea of annexing any part of Central 
America to the United States. "What could we do with such 
a people?" he asked Napier. "We could not incorporate them; 
if we did, they would tear us asunder." Napier replied that he 
was fully aware of the constitutional and political impediments 
confronting the annexation on equal terms of any region popu- 

» British State Papers, XLVII,, 742. ^ Ibid., XLVIII., 632. 


lated by mixed races, but that he believed some Americans contem- 
plated the creation of colonies or dependencies of some portions 
of Central America. Buchanan denied the possibility of grafting 
such a novelty upon the institutions of the United States and 
repeated a statement which the British minister had often heard 
him make, "We can only annex vacant territory."^ And this 
came from one of the authors of the Ostend Manifesto 1 

I BHtiah State Papers, XL VIII., 754. 


Transit Troubles 

After the removal of Walker from the isthmus in May, 1857, 
Generals Jerez and Martinez, the respective heads of the Demo- 
cratic and Legitimist parties in Nicaragua, pronounced against 
the government of Patricio Rivas, which had been recognized by 
all the Central American republics, and put themselves at the head 
of a new government, thus establishing a kind of duumvirate.^ 
Although revolutionary, this made possible a union of all factions 
among the natives. In a typically Latin-American fashion the 
two chieftains now banished the unlucky Rivas, at whose call the 
allies had marched against the filibusters, and he fled to England. 
A constitutional convention was subsequently called, and Martinez 
was chosen president without opposition. This government was 
no more constitutional than any that had recently preceded it, 
including even Walker's. The two military chieftains had no 
power to call a convention, and no military officer above the rank 
of lieutenant-colonel might legally become president while in actual 

Meanwhile the Transit remained closed, to the great detriment 
of American interests. The new Nicaraguan government was 
approached from many sources on the subject of reopening it, 
and this brought about complications between Nicaragua and 
Costa Rica. The latter had continued to hold the steamers of 

1 MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Central America, 
Notes to Department, II. ; Nicaraguan and Costa Rican Legations, Despatches, III. 

* MS., Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Nicaraguan and 
Costa Rican Legations, Despatches, III. ; Notes to Department, II. 



the Transit Company after the cessation of hostilities and had 
demanded that Nicaragua recognize her rights to the entire south 
bank of the San Juan River. The forts of Castillo Viejo and San 
Carlos were also included in the demand. Nicaragua ceded 
Castillo Viejo for a period of twenty years, but refused to cede 
San Carlos. As a result of this disagreement the two countries 
were soon involved in a warfare of paper and ink. The dispute was 
intensified by the Transit's becoming a bone of contention between 
them. Costa Rica claimed certain rights over the route by virtue 
of her occupation and claim to the southern bank of the river, and 
she further declared her occupation a military necessity, since 
Nicaragua would be unable to defend the Transit in the event of 
another invasion and would allow it to become an open door to 

Three rival groups of capitalists were now contesting for the 
franchise: the original grantee, the Atlantic and Pacific Ship 
Canal Company, with H. G. Stebbins as president and Joseph L. 
White as chief schemer (usually referred to as the Stebbins and 
White Company) ; the Accessory Transit Company, headed by 
Cornelius Vanderbilt, who had never acknowledged the legality of 
the revocation of his charter by the Rivas- Walker government; 
and Morgan and Garrison, who naturally maintained that the 
rights they had recently secured were still valid. 

The Englishman Webster, who had assisted Spencer in planning 
the operations on the San Juan, made use of his opportunity while 
in San Jose to secure some sort of a concession from Costa Rica, 
and having fallen out with Vanderbilt he joined forces with Morgan 
and Garrison. It was necessary for him to secure the same con- 
cession from Nicaragua also, but this he failed to do. Meanwhile 
the Stebbins and White Company began to use its influence upon 
Senor Irisarri, the recently accredited minister from Nicaragua, 
but not yet recognized as such at Washington, and sought to obtain 
a new transit concession through him. Irisarri was completely 


captivated by the blandishments of Joseph L. White, but Van- 
derbilt, whose influence in high political circles was supreme, 
endeavoured to prevent his recognition. The situation was still 
more complicated by a scheme of General Canas, who had remained 
in Nicaragua in command of the Costa Rican forces and had con- 
ceived the idea of creating a new political organization embracing 
the districts of Rivas, Guanacaste, and the San Juan River. He 
seems to have planned a coup d'etat, which he hoped to achieve 
with Vanderbilt^s aid, and intended to repay the financier by 
granting him the Transit route. Vanderbilt advised against this 
plan on account of the sparse population in the region to be 
embraced within the new State, but urged Canas to place the 
steamers in his (Vanderbilt's) possession and allow him to reopen 
the Transit, and assured him that he would meet with every encour- 
agement in this step from the United States, as the administration 
at Washington had made known its intention to protect any gov- 
ernment opening the Transit. After securing this object Canas 
was to have himself designated as minister from both Nicaragua 
and Costa Rica and come to Washington to replace Irisarri, who 
had been made the tool of speculators. Vanderbilt also secured 
the services of Goicouria, who sought to undermine Irisarri in 
Nicaragua and aid his patron by letters to General Jerez, whom 
he had known when they both served under Walker in the spring 
of 1856.^ Webster, whose Costa Rican concession had proved 
valueless, now abandoned Morgan and Garrison and returned to the 
service of Vanderbilt. He visited Costa Rica again in the autumn 
of 1857 with Vanderbilt's son-in-law, Daniel B. Allen, to secure 
a concession to which both the Central American republics would 

Irisarri, however, had already made a contract with Stebbins 
and White on June 27, and this had been confirmed by his gov- 

* MS., Archives, Department of State, Central America, Notes to Department, 


ernment in July. The Vanderbilt forces at once protested, claim- 
ing that the Accessory Transit Company still possessed exclusive 
rights by virtue of its original charter, and that the revocation by 
the filibuster government in February, 1856, was null and void. 
Morgan and Garrison, too, were bent on maintaining their former 
rights and privileges, but as they had been closely identified with 
the filibusters the Nicaraguan government was not disposed to 
heed their claims.^ 

The American government took an active interest in the reopen- 
ing of the route, and sent William Carey Jones as a special agent 
to Nicaragua to report on conditions there. A more unfortunate 
choice could hardly have been made. If newspaper reports are 
correct, he was rarely sober and never diplomatic,^ and was 
called home without having furnished any information worth 

The anxiety of the Buchanan administration to reopen the route 
led to the recognition of Irisarri as minister from Nicaragua on 
November 16, the day following Walker's departure from Mobile 
on the Fashion. Immediately after his reception a treaty nego- 
tiated by him and Cass was submitted to their respective govern- 
ments for ratification. It is probable that it had been drafted 
before he was recognized as Nicaraguan minister. As he had been 
representing Guatemala and San Salvador near the American 
government for several years he was able to discuss Nicaraguan 
affairs indirectly with Cass before presenting his credentials from 
the latter country. The treaty as proposed provided for an open 
and neutral transit through the republic of Nicaragua, and em- 
powered the United States to employ military force, if necessary, 
to protect persons and property conveyed over the route.^ It was 
the object of Buchanan and Cass to secure a safe and neutral high- 
way between the oceans, open to all nations upon equal terms, 

1 British State Papers, XLVII., 710, » See New York Herald, Jan. 1, 1858. 

» For full text of the treaty see Senate Ex. Doc. 194, 47 Cong., 1 Seaa., 117-25. 


and not liable to interruption by the miserable civil wars on the 
isthmus. They were somewhat taken back, therefore, when imme- 
diately after the convention was signed Irisarri told Cass that the 
Stebbins and White Company was the only corporation in Nica- 
ragua that had the right of transit across the isthmus. 

Naturally the opponents of that company desired to prevent the 
ratification of the Cass-Irisarri convention, and the Vanderbilt 
agents in Nicaragua worked strenuously toward this end. Vander- 
bilt also continued to curry favour with Costa Rica — a scheme 
that had its advantages, as that country still held the steamers 
and controlled the river and lake — and he seems to have hoped 
to displace Irisarri at Washington with General Caiias. With the 
Cass-Irisarri agreement rejected in Nicaragua, he believed that 
the administration in its desire to revive interoceanic communica- 
tion would enter into negotiations with Costa Rica, and with Canas 
as minister he would achieve his full purpose.^ 

In the meantime the relations between Nicaragua and Costa 
Rica had become very strained. The boundary between the two 
countries had long been a subject of dispute, and Costa Rica 
thought this a favourable moment to secure her claims. Nicaragua 
was exhausted]and incapable of effective resistance. Moreover, she 
was indebted to her sister State for deliverance from the filibus- 
ters. Upon the refusal of Nicaragua to surrender Fort San Carlos 
Colonel Cauty was sent with a force of Costa Ricans to starve the 
garrison into submission, and war between the two republics seemed 
inevitable. Thanks to Walker, however, the political situation 
suddenly cleared. His arrival at Punta Arenas in November, 
1857, put the two States into such a panic that by mutual consent 
they dropped their quarrel and made common cause against the 
filibusters. After Paulding's arrest of Walker there was harmony 
on the isthmus. A treaty was negotiated between the two repub- 

» MS., Archives, Department of State, Central America, Notes to Department, 
II., III. 


lies on the very day of Walker's capture and provided for the settle- 
ment of the boundary dispute.^ 

The attention of Nicaragua was next directed toward the Cass- 
Irisarri convention. The recent return of Walker was used as a 
bugaboo by the Vanderbilt agents to prevent its ratification. Presi- 
dent Martinez, who hated Americans, and had no desire to see the 
Transit reopened, referred the measure to the assembly, feeling 
confident that it would be voted down ; but when, to his astonish- 
ment, it was eventually ratified, he refused to sign it.'^ He did 
not dare, however, to make public the withholding of his signature, 
and allowed the impression to prevail that the document had been 
signed. He even delivered a sealed package to the representative 
of the Stebbins and White Company (who happened to be none 
other than Louis Schlessinger, the coward of Santa Rosa), telling 
him that it was the treaty. Schlessinger was to be the messenger 
to take the treaty to the United States, and he secured from Mr. 
Mirabeau B. Lamar, the new minister from the United States, a 
letter to the commander of the Fulton at Greytown requesting him 
to take Schlessinger to Aspinwall so that he could reach the United 
States with the news at the earliest possible moment. Luckily, the 
warship was not in the port when the messenger reached Greytown, 
and the American navy was spared the indignity shown American 

The insolent trick played upon the American minister was a 
result of the arrival of a new Richmond in the field in the person 
of a versatile Frenchman, M. Felix Belly. Though merely the 
agent of a few obscure Parisian speculators, he had a keen eye 
to the possibilities of the situation, and possessing considerable 
dramatic ability, he managed to invest his mission with a kind of 

» British State Papers, XLIX., 1222-24. 

* MS., Archives, Department of State, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, Despatches, 

•New York Herald, May 31, 1858; Belly, A Travers VAnUrigue Centrcde, II., 
160 ff. 


awe-inspiring mystery, causing a number of French and American 
journals to report that he was an official representative of the 
French Emperor. After landing at Greytown on March 14, 1858, 
he sent communications to Presidents Mora and Martinez, couched 
in mysterious language, declaring his visit connected with vast 
projects which he would be glad to submit to their Excellencies. 
"I have been devoted for several years to the cause of Central 
American independence and prosperity, and it will not be my fault 
if the triumph of this cause is not the immediate and natural result 
of my journey," he said. He went first to Costa Rica, and Mora 
on hearing of his coming ordered a guide and mules at midnight 
to go from the capital and meet him. Colonel Barrillier, the 
French Zouave, was also sent to act as one of his escorts, and he 
was heartily greeted in all the villages along the way. This was 
only a few months after both Walker and Kinney had been again 
in Greytown harbour, and while Vanderbilt's agents were keeping 
the people alarmed at possible invasions of the filibusters. The 
suavity of the Frenchman entirely captivated Mora, who gave a 
great ball in his honour. Belly denied that his mission was official, 
but did it in such a way as to convince the officials that the denial 
was made for diplomatic reasons. He declared furthermore that 
he had the personal assurance of the continued interest of Louis 
Napoleon in the canal project, and even had the effrontery to pre- 
sent the draft of a proposed treaty between Nicaragua and Costa 
Rica providing for their joint control of the canal and enjoyment 
of its privileges. Within a week he had persuaded Mora not only 
to sign the treaty but also to go with him to Rivas and persuade 
President Martinez to do likewise. 

At this juncture this grandiose personage came near encountering 
complete defeat. His pocket-book became empty, and the specu- 
lators at home who promised to send him funds apparently had 
forgotten him. Fortunately, one of his fellow countrymen in 
Costa Rica came to his aid, and he was enabled to continue his 


game. On April 24 the two presidents met about a mile from 
Rivas, where twelve months before Nicaraguan and Costa Rican 
troops had fought side by side, and together they entered the ruined 
town and began their negotiations in a bullet-riddled house. Belly 
had things all his own way. An "international convention" 
was drawn up at his instigation, which gave the company to be 
formed by "M. Felix Belly, publiciste," the exclusive privilege of 
building and operating the Nicaraguan canal. 

But the Frenchman did not stop at that. He succeeded also 
in effecting a treaty of limits between the two countries, by which 
Nicaragua made a remarkable cession of territory to Costa Rica, in 
consideration of the aid and cooperation of the latter State in the 
event of any controversy between Nicaragua and the United 
States. Costa Rica thus became a joint owner of part of the Transit 
route, and the Cass-Irisarri convention, even if eventually ratified, 
would have very little value without Costa Rica's assent thereto. 
Belly assured the two chiefs that France would protect the interests 
of their respective countries, now that a French company was to 
be associated with them in the construction of a canal. ^ 

Belly next played what he probably regarded as his master 
stroke by having Mora and Martinez sign a joint declaration placing 
Nicaragua and Costa Rica under the protection of France, England^ 
and Sardinia, and empowering "M. Felix Belly to request in our 
name the immediate assistance of all the European vessels of war 
that he may be able to meet with. We charge him especially to 
solicit the despatch to San Juan del Norte of one or two vessels from 
the French station of the Antilles, and we place the two republics 
of Costa Rica and Nicaragua in Central America entirely under 
the guarantee of European law and of the special enactments 
against pirates and buccaneers." ^ The reasons given for this 

> MS., Archives, Department of State, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, Despatches, 

« For the full text of this curious document, see British State Papers, XL VIII., 
695-6, or Accounts and Papers, 1860, LXVIII., 122. 


unusual action were the imminent invasion of American filibusters 
and the exhaustion of Central America, which could be defended 
now only with European assistance. 

Along with this commission to Belly the two presidents issued 
an elaborate manifesto directed against the United States and 
intended for European consumption. This document stated 
that a new invasion, under the patronage of the United States 
government, was menacing the independence of Nicaragua and 
Costa Rica; that the United States openly menaced Central 
America with annexation by force unless the States surrendered 
voluntarily ; that all oflScial agents of the United States in Nica- 
ragua had acted as accomplices of the invaders; and that the 
present minister had publicly boasted of presenting the ultimatum 
of accepting legal annexation by the ratification of the Cass- 
Irisarri treaty or a new invasion of filibusters already organized at 
Mobile under the American flag. Moreover, the American gov- 
ernment had admitted to the Costa Rican ministers its inability 
to prevent the departure of filibusters or to protect the neutrality 
of Central America ; and inasmuch as the Central American States 
were so exhausted after their recent resistance that they could not 
withstand another attack, "they must succumb before a superior- 
ity of numbers, unless Europe deign at least to defend them against 
attempts unprecedented in the nineteenth century." Mora and 
Martinez therefore placed their countries under the protection of 
England, France, and Sardinia, who had caused the independence 
of the Ottoman Empire to be respected, and appealed to these 
powers no longer to leave the shores of Central America defenceless, 
and ''its rich countries at the mercy of barbarians." ^ 

With an eye for dramatic effect. Belly conducted these negotia- 
tions so that the various documents described above were all 
signed at Rivas on May 1, 1858, the anniversary of Walker's sur- 

^ MS., Archives, Department of State, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, Despatches, 


render to Davis. Deceived as to Belly's real status, Martinez 
felt that with his support he could beard Minister Lamar, who had 
been labouring earnestly for the ratification of the Cass-Irisarri 
treaty, and defy the assembly, which had ratified it in the face of 
his known opposition. When Belly took his leave to return to 
Europe with his canal concession, Martinez even requested him on 
reaching Greytown to make an official investigation of Kinney's 
recent irruption and report the facts to Louis Napoleon.^ History 
furnishes few more striking illustrations of opera bouffe than the 
transactions of Belly and the two presidents at Rivas. 

Inflated with his success, the Frenchman went to Aspinwall and 
thence to New York. As his vessel steamed into the American 
port a press boat came down the bay bringing the latest papers, 
and in a copy of the New York Herald he saw in flaring headlines 
"Disavowal of M. Belly," and read below that the French govern- 
ment had declared that it had no connection with him and regarded 
him as a mere adventurer. For several weeks his mysterious 
doings in Central America had alarmed all American expansionists 
and champions of the Monroe Doctrine and had even revived 
some of the dwindling sympathy with filibusterism. It was feared 
that he was the secret emissary of the French Emperor. But now 
the truth was known, and the whale had shrunk to the dimensions 
of a minnow. Belly had planned to play the same role in Wash- 
ington that he had acted so well on the isthmus and seek to obtain 
a good understanding between his proposed company and the 
United States government. The disavowal, however, took all the 
wind out of his sails, and he got no satisfaction either from Cass or 
from the French minister. He took ship for home and reached 
Liverpool with eighteen francs in his pocket. The secretary of 
the Honduran legation lent him money to continue his journey 
to Paris, and there few men of influence would even give him a 
hearing. Some promoters of equivocal standing finally advanced 

» Belly, op. cU., II., 178. 


him funds to return to Nicaragua and begin the survey of the pro- 
posed canal, but on his arrival he found that the Central American 
diplomats in Paris had issued letters of warning describing Belly's 
supporters as a bad lot and had distributed these liberally in 
Nicaragua. Funds for continuing the survey were soon withdrawn, 
and all of Belly's fine schemes came to naught. His chief accom- 
plishment was the blocking of the American efforts to reopen the 

The joint manifesto of Mora and Martinez vexed Cass no little. 
It not only accused the American government of weakness and 
bad faith in its conduct toward the filibusters, but also violated 
the Monroe Doctrine by proclaiming the establishment of a 
European protectorate over Central America. The Secretary of 
State therefore called upon Lamar to determine by a categorical 
inquiry whether the manifesto were authentic. If it should prove 
to be genuine, the United States would deal with the provocation 
with forbearance, though " had such a cause of offence been given 
by France or England or by any other nation with a well estab- 
lished government properly appreciating its duties toward foreign 
powers," all diplomatic intercourse would have been suspended 
forthwith. Lamar was ordered to notify the governments that if 
any arrangements made with Belly interfered with the rights pre- 
viously acquired by American citizens, full reparation would be 
demanded. As to European intervention in American affairs, the 
United States had long ago avowed its opposition to such a pro- 
ceeding and would resist it under any and every circumstance. 
Finally, he was to show the executives that had it not been for 
the neutrality law of the United States the invasion which resulted 
from Nicaragua's own invitation would have succeeded, and that 
they owed their present power to the fact that this law had been 
executed. In return for this fidelity to its obligations the American 
government had been subjected to an undignified denunciation 
before the world. It had yielded long enough to the weakness of 


the Central American republics, and without doing them injustice 
it would now take care to do justice to itself. Preparatory to such 
action as might be necessary, a fleet would be stationed in the ports 
of San Juan del Sur, Realejo, and Greytown.* 

Upon the receipt of these instructions Lamar notified the 
Nicaraguan government that the arrangements made with the 
Frenchman must not jeopardize any rights previously acquired 
by American citizens and inquired whether the Mora-Martinez 
manifesto were genuine. On the following day he received a reply 
stating that there was no intention of defrauding the American 
citizens of their rights, but ignoring entirely his question concerning 
the manifesto. Some days later the American minister repeated 
the question and asked for an immediate and direct answer. When 
no reply came he made the demand a third time, and even more 
emphatically: " Is the document genuine or not ? " This brought 
a reply. The document was genuine, but was signed by Martinez 
when he was at Rivas acting as a private citizen and not in his 
official capacity. It was, therefore, not an official act, but merely 
the expression of a desire on the part of a private citizen to rid his 
country of filibustering.^ 

On August 8 Lamar reached San Jose and presented his creden- 
tials to the Costa Rican government. In a conference with Mora 
he was told that the manifesto had originated in mistaken concep- 
tions, and that when it was drafted the fears of a filibuster invasion 
were so great that his country would have thrown itself as a colony 
into the arms of any nation that would give protection. On Sep- 

1 MS., Archives, Department of State, American States, Instructions, XV. 

• MS., Archives, Department of State, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, Despatches, III. 
The weakness of this explanation (not to use a harsher characterization) is attested 
by the preamble of the manifesto, which reads : " The supreme chiefs of the two 
republics of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, assembled at Rivas, after having settled the 
questions which divided the republics, and having reestablished peace and the most 
complete harmony between them with a common accord, and in order to secure the 
independence and safety of the two countries as well as of all Central America," etc. 
(The italics are mine.) . 


tember 16 Mora made further amends by a letter in which he 
denounced the sentiments expressed in the manifesto as groundless 
and expressed full confidence in the good faith and upright inten- 
tions of the President of the United States.^ On the 25th Martinez 
did likewise. 

With the entrance of Belly into Nicaragua the American capital- 
ists who were competing for the transit concession did not abandon 
their fight. The grant which had been obtained on June 27, 1857, 
by Stebbins and White was revoked, at the instigation of Vander- 
bilt's agents, on January 28, 1858, and on the 8th of March follow- 
ing the concession was transferred to Vanderbilt. Stebbins and 
White denied the legality of the revocation, appealed to the United 
States for protection, and continued their preparations for in- 
augurating a steamship service.^ 

It soon became evident that Vanderbilt had no intention of 
reopening the route, but on the other hand desired the concession 
so as to prevent any one else from using it. It transpired that the 
Panama line, or Pacific Mail Company, desiring to monopolize 
the traffic between Panama and California, agreed to pay him a 
monthly subsidy of $56,000, provided that he would neither run in 
opposition to this company nor allow anyone else to do so.^ He 
therefore made peace with Morgan and Garrison, and they retired 
from the field. This narrowed the contest to one between Vander- 
bilt and the Stebbins-White organization. The latter held on 
persistently ; perhaps Vanderbilt thought it would never command 
sufficient resources to become formidable and merely tolerated its 

It is significant, however, that Senor Irisarri, who had cham- 
pioned the cause of Stebbins and White, was replaced in October, 
1858, by Jerez, whom the archives of the American State Depart- 

^ MS., Archives, Department of State, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, Despatches, 
• Harper's Weekly, III., 114 ; New York Herald, June 6, 1868. 


ment show to have been in correspondence with Vanderbilt's 
agents before his appointment.^ It is also significant that as soon 
as the first Stebbins-White steamer was advertised to sail for 
Greytown Jerez published a card over his name in the New York 
papers warning persons against attempting to go to California by 
this route, as the company had no steamers on the lake or river, and 
the transit would have to be made in bungoes. It was taken for 
granted that the minister published this at Vanderbilt's suggestion.^ 
For this diplomatic indiscretion he was rebuked by Cass.' 

The steamer Washington, the first boat of the Stebbins and 
White Company, duly sailed from New York for Greytown on 
November 7 with 320 passengers. On her arrival at Greytown 
an officer from the United States ship Savannah examined her in 
accordance with instructions and found nothing suspicious. The 
Nicaraguan government, however, had notified the company's 
agent at Greytown that the passengers would not be allowed to 
cross the isthmus. The agent took a river steamer and went to 
Granada to attempt to get the government to recede from this 
attitude. At San Carlos the boat was compelled to take on a file 
of soldiers before being allowed to proceed across the lake. The 
agent found the officials obdurate and learned that the California 
steamer which touched at San Juan del Sur had already departed. 
While the Washington was awaiting his return she was boarded 
by British^officers and searched a second time. Being unable to 
send her passengers byway of Nicaragua, the Washington proceeded 
to Aspinwall and sent them to California on the steamers of the 
rival company. About ninety refused to continue the journey and 
returned to New York.^ This was the Alpha and Omega of the 
transportation business of Messrs. Stebbins and White ; and the 
Transit remained closed. The spectre of Walker and his men 

^ MS., Department of State, Central America, Notes to Department, II. 
» Washington Evening Star, Nov. 4, 1858. « Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 336. 

* MS., Archives, Navy Department, Home Squadron, 1858-9, 129 ; Wheeler 
Scrapbook no. 4, 336. 


returning to Nicaragua was a sufficient guarantee that the Transit 
would remain closed and that Vanderbilt would draw his subsidy 
for many months to come. 

Finally in the autumn of 1859 Vanderbilt terminated his alliance 
with the Pacific Mail Company and announced his intention of 
reviving the Nicaraguan service. It was even rumoured that he 
would use the filibusters for this purpose if the Nicaraguan govern- 
ment proved obdurate, and one of his steamers actually took on 
board a cargo of arms in New York and proceeded to New Orleans, 
whence she attempted to clear for Aspinwall, but was prevented by 
the interference of the government.^ For some reason Vanderbilt 
abandoned his plan before the route was reopened. Various 
other schemes were proposed in the following decade, but they 
never went beyond the stage of incubation. Finally the building 
of the transcontinental railways in the United States deprived 
the isthmus of much of its former geographical importance. The 
closure of the Transit was perhaps the most important result of 
Walker's career in Nicaragua. Before his advent some twenty 
thousand Americans were passing through that country each year. 
His acts, resulting in the turning of this traffic elsewhere, perhaps 
changed the destiny of Nicaragua. 

1 See the account of the detention of the steamer Philadelphia in the following 


The Finale of Filibustering 

It will be recalled that when Walker left New Orleans for 
Nicaragua in November, 1857, he was under bond on a charge 
of violating the neutrality law. On his return to the United 
States he announced his intention of going to New Orleans and 
demanding trial for this alleged offence, and this announcement 
was probably what saved his bondsman from having to pay for 
his forfeiture. When Walker reached Mobile he was arrested 
upon the request of the Federal authorities in New Orleans, but 
was released upon a writ of habeas corpus,^ and after reaching the 
latter city was indicted, along with Anderson, for violation of the 
neutrality law of 1818.^ He remained there throughout the 
spring, being most of the time in seclusion in his quarters at 184 
Custom House Street, where he was busily engaged in the prep- 
aration of a history of his career in Nicaragua. He and Ander- 
son were brought to trial on May 31. Pierre Soule appeared in 
their defence. The government produced as witnesses Bruno 
von Natzmer, Julius Hesse, the agent of J. G. Humphries and 
secretary of the recently organized Southern Emigration Society, 
Messrs. Pilcher and Slatter, who had charge of the sale of Nicara- 
guan bonds, and Captain Chatard, formerly commander of the 
Saratoga. Damaging evidence was produced, and the charge 

» Louisiana Courier, Jan. 26, 1858. 

» After Anderson and his men were landed at Key West they were held for ex- 
amination before a United States district judge, who refused to raise the point of 
the jurisdiction of the government over the high seas, but ruled that inasmuch as 
there was sufficient evidence to indicate a violation of the law at New Orleans the 
offenders should be sent there for trial. 



of Judge Campbell was by no means favom'able to the defendants. 
Walker, as in his trial in California, addressed the jm'y in his own 
defence. After deliberating for an hour and a half, the jury re- 
ported that it was unable to agree, and was discharged. Ten 
stood for acquittal, and two for conviction. Walker, confident of 
ultimate acquittal, demanded a new trial, but the district attorney 
entered a nolle prosequi} 

After his trial Walker remained in New Orleans. He still 
avowed his purpose of returning to Nicaragua, and declared that 
he would eat his Christmas dinner in Granada.^ Preparations 
had been in progress for several months. On February 8 the 
legislature of Alabama incorporated the Mobile and Nicaragua 
Steamship Company with an authorized capital of one hundred 
thousand dollars.^ About a month later the Southern Emigra- 
tion Society, with branches throughout the South, but strongest 
in Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina, was formed for the 
purpose of "colonizing" Nicaragua. During the spring and 
summer Walker made a lecture tour through the cities and towns 
of the Lower South in an effort to arouse interest in his cause and 
secure funds for another attempt.* The steamer Fashion had 
been brought back to Mobile, and on being condemned for having 
sailed under a false clearance, was sold for two hundred dollars 
and became the property of the recently incorporated Mobile and 
Nicaragua Steamship Company. 

Early in April Henningsen made a mysterious trip into Mexico, 
with which Walker had no connection, and was supposed to 

1 New Orleans Commercial Bulletin, June 1-3, 1858 ; Louisiana Courier, June 1-3, 
1858 ; New Orleans Picayune, June 1-3, 1858. 

2 Harper's Weekly, II., 626, 706, 802. 

'Acts of Ala., 1857-8, 216-9; MS,, Department of State, Bureau of Indexes 
and Archives, Central America, Letters from Department, I,, 138-9 ; Notes to 
Department, III. 

* " General Walker could raise a million dollars in Dallas County to Americanize 
Central America," wrote the highly enthusiastic editor of the Selma (Alabama) 
Sentinel, just after he had heard Walker make a speech. Montgomery Advertiser, 
May 21, 1858. 


have volunteered his services to General D. Santiago Vidaurri, 
the leader of the Liberal party then conducting a revolution in 
that country. Lockridge had also volunteered his services to 
Vidaurri on March 29 and had offered to bring men and arms 
for his cause on condition that when peace was made Lockridge 
should be allowed to organize in one of the Mexican ports on the 
Gulf an expedition to "liberate" Cuba. On hearing of Henning- 
sen's visit to Monterey, the Liberal headquarters, Lockridge was 
very much disturbed lest the services of that distinguished soldier 
should be preferred to his own. He was also smarting under the 
criticism of Walker and Henningsen of his fiasco when leading 
the relief expedition on the San Juan. He therefore sought to 
forestall Henningsen and at the same time retaliate against him 
for slurs on his military capacity, and wrote Vidaurri a letter of 
warning, declaring that Henningsen was merely Walker's agent 
and was meditating some piratical project. Vidaurri in reply 
cited a note which Lockridge had published in a Galveston news- 
paper showing that the latter's motives in bringing a detachment 
of troops into Mexico were quite different from those which he had 
professed in his communications with the Mexican leaders. Hen- 
ningsen, on hearing of Lockridge's communication, denied that 
he had come in the interests of Walker or meditated any invasion, 
and declared that if he took part in the revolution it would be 
only at Vidaurri's express invitation.^ The effect of this falling 
out of the two filibusters was to make the Mexican leaders sus- 
picious, and this proffered foreign aid was not employed. 

Returning from Mexico, Henningsen stopped in New Orleans, 
and for a time was seen in almost daily consultation with Walker. 
In the autumn the government became aware that another ex- 
pedition was coming to a head in Mobile. On the 8th of October 
the Southern Emigration Society issued from its headquarters in 
Mobile a circular informing all prospective emigrants that a 

1 Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 323. 


vessel would sail from that port for Nicaragua on November 10.^ 
The American naval forces in the Caribbean were urged to vigi- 
lance, and President Buchanan, on October 30, 1858, issued a 
proclamation enjoining all officers of the government to be dili- 
gent in suppressing the illegal enterprise and warning any who 
might be inclined to join the undertaking that their claim to go 
as peaceful immigrants could be no longer advanced.^ Irisarri 
three days before had notified Cass that no foreigner, except pas- 
sengers going through to California, would be permitted to enter 
the country without a passport signed by the minister or consul- 
general resident in the country from which he came.^ About the 
same time Lord Napier notified Cass that any attempt of the 
filibusters to land at Greytown or upon the Mosquito Coast would 
be repelled by the forces of the British navy, and any attempt 
to land in Nicaragua proper or Costa Rica would be repelled if 
the governments of these countries so requested.^ Malmesbury 
in London also notified the American minister, George M. Dallas, 
that two British ships had been ordered to Greytown to intercept 
the filibusters, and asked that the American vessels in Central 
American waters be ordered to cooperate.^ A similar request was 
made of the French government, which consented and also or- 
dered a naval force to Central American points.^ 

Commodore James H. Mcintosh, who had succeeded Paulding 

1 The text of this circular was reproduced in several Southern papers, for example 
the Montgomery Advertiser, in October, 1858. See also Gulf States Historical Maga- 
zine, II., 184. 

* Moore, Works of James Buchanan, X., 230. 

» MS., Archives, State Department, Central America, Notes from Depart- 
ment, I., 148 ; Letters from Department, I., 147-8. 

* MS., Archives State Department, American States, Instructions, XVI., 23 ff. ; 
British State Papers, XL VIII., 699. 

6 British State Papers, XLVIIL, 711-12. 

" MS., Archives State Department, American States, Instructions, XVI., 23 ff. It 
is perhaps needless to say that Cass, with his well-known European antipathies, did 
not relish these measures of England and France, and notified Lord Napier and M. de 
Sartiges that such acts by their governments would arouse ill-feeling in the United 
States and further complicate the existing Central American problems. 


in command of the American squadron stationed in the Carib- 
bean, was cautioned on November 17 by the Secretary of the 
Navy, Isaac Toucey, to be vigilant and intercept any unlawful 
expedition headed for Nicaragua. To avoid a repetition of the 
Paulding affair he was ordered to interfere only at sea. " You 
will not do this within any harbour, nor land any part of your 
forces for the purpose." ^ The Navy Department's stationing of 
warships in Central American ports to prevent the landing of 
filibusters and then ordering their commanders to act only on 
the high seas was an occasion of much bewilderment to the naval 
officers concerned. They addressed frequent letters to the De- 
partment asking further enlightenment as to their duties, and 
even setting forth hypothetical cases on which they desired the 
Department to prescribe a definite course of conduct. It is need- 
less to say that Toucey was never able to explain just how a 
warship lying at anchor, say, in Greytown harbour, should in- 
tercept a filibuster craft before it came within a marine league 
of the shore. Moreover, the officers were warned that they 
must not act on mere suspicion and must not interfere with lawful 
commerce, — injunctions which still further befuddled the nauti- 
cal brains. 

On October 16 Thaddeus Sanford, the collector of the port 
of Mobile, notified Secretary Cobb that he had just received a 
visit from Walker, who stated that a ship would leave Mobile 
for Greytown about the 15th of November, and would take about 
three hundred peaceful emigrants, but no arms. The filibuster 
stated that he himself would not be one of the emigrants, if that 
were objected to. Cobb told Sanford that if a clearance were 
requested, to refer the matter directly to the Treasury Depart- 
ment. On November 9 a clearance was asked for the barque 
Alice fainter, which was to convey three hundred or more pas- 
sengers, and Cobb ordered the clearance withheld. A number of 

i House Ex. Doo. 24. 35 Cong., 2 Seas. 


these passengers had passports signed by Irisarri, which were at 
first thought to be forgeries, as Irisarri claimed to have issued only- 
twelve passports to persons who were going on the regular steamer 
Washington, of the Stebbins and White line, on December 6. 
Strange to say, these passports were now in the hands of the 
filibusters in Mobile, though no one knew how they were secured. 
When the fainter was detained many of the recruits for Nica- 
ragua returned to their homes. On November 30 Walker was 
summoned before a grand jury in Mobile, but no bill was returned 
against him.^ 

At this time a number of Southern papers were openly com- 
menting upon the preparations. The New Orleans Crescent stated 
that a company was forming in that city, and the Augusta (Geor- 
gia) Despatch announced the departure of Colonel A. F. Rudler, 
a former member of Walker's staff, for Mobile, whence he was to 
sail for Nicaragua. ^ 

On December 4 Collector Sanford was again approached by 
persons implicated in filibustering expeditions and was asked for 
a clearance to Key West for the schooner Siisan. Sanford denied 
the application as before and referred the matter to the Secretary 
of the Treasury. Humphries, the owner of the vessel, threatened 
the collector with a damage suit, and several friends of the former 
tried to intimidate him with threats of violence. When these 
tactics failed they resolved upon the desperate plan of sending 
the schooner off without a clearance. A hundred and twenty 
emigrants under the command of Anderson and Doubleday 
were taken on board between ten and twelve o'clock on the night 
of December 4, and the schooner was towed down Mobile Bay 
to Dog Bar, where the tug cast off and the vessel headed for Cen- 
tral America under its own sail. Among the officers were a 
number of veterans of previous campaigns : Colonels Bruno von 
Natzmer and Rudler, Major Hoof, and Captains McMichael, 

1 House Ex. Doc. 25, 35 Cong., 2 Sess. « Wheeler Scrapbook no. 4, 336. 


Rhea, and McEachern. All day of the 5th the schooner lay 
becalmed, and the next day, while still in the bay, was overhauled 
by a revenue cutter. An officer boarded the Susan and asked 
to see her papers. Captain Harry Maury, the skipper, stated 
that he had not cleared yet and was on his way to the fleet station 
down the bay to prepare for sea. The officer took Maury's ex- 
planation to his commander and soon returned, declaring the 
vessel a prize of the United States, and ordered an immediate 
return to Mobile. Maury flatly refused to obey and dropped 
his anchor. The commander of the cutter and six men came 
aboard. As their boat drew near, the filibusters lined the rail 
with drawn revolvers and bowie knives, and they made many 
threats during the parley between Maury and Anderson and the 
cutter's officers, declaring that they would not allow the com- 
mander to return to his ship. The latter then ordered his officer 
in the boat alongside to return to the cutter and open fire on the 
Susan, regardless of the commander's life. This determination 
of the officer seemed to cool the anger of the "passengers," and he 
was allowed to return unmolested. He declared as he left that 
if the schooner left the spot he would sink her. Unluckily, he left 
one of his officers on board, and Maury now had him as a hostage. 
Knowing that the cutter would not fire on his vessel under such 
circumstances, he at once weighed anchor and a merry chase 
began down the bay. It was useless for the cutter to try to board 
the schooner, as the latter's force outnumbered the government 
crew five to one and could easily have pitched the boarders into 
the sea without resorting to further violence. The revenue 
officer on the Susan was invited into the cabin, and, according to 
report, soon went the way of all bibulous flesh. 

A heavy fog came down and the vessels lost sight of each other. 
The filibusters then crowded all sail and made for the Gulf, but 
suddenly out of the mist the cutter appeared just in front of 
them. They at once dropped anchor and the cutter followed 


suit. Parleying was resumed that night by the two skippers, 
with no result, and the next day Maury made an effort to slip 
through Grant's Pass, but turned back when the cutter cleared 
her decks for action. The two vessels then beat about till after 
dark, when Maury paid the cutter a visit and suggested that they 
both anchor for the night as before. This was agreed to, and 
when Maury returned he had the anchor chain run out of one 
hawse-hole and pulled back through the other. The cutter's 
commander, hearing the rattling of the chain and thinking that 
the schooner had anchored, hove to and dropped his anchor while 
the Susan sped on in the darkness, shading her binnacle light with 
a blanket and protected by a gathering fog. On perceiving this 
ruse, the cutter's skipper started in pursuit, but ran aground, and 
the Siisan was many miles away when he was again afloat. The 
revenue officer, who was still on board the escaping vessel, on see- 
ing the trick, ordered Maury to drop anchor and not leave the bay. 
Maury coolly replied that he could not think of it ; and the guar- 
dian of the nation's honour accepted the situation with something 
of the philosophy of Omar Khayyam and returned to the wine 
pots of the cabin. Two days out, the Susan hailed a vessel for 
New Orleans and transferred the government officer to it. As he 
left the schooner the "passengers" gave him three cheers for a 
jolly good fellow. 

Doubleday describes the men aboard the schooner as being 
"mostly of the class found about the wharves of Southern cities, 
with here and there a Northern bank cashier who had suddenly 
changed his vocation." ^ They had sailed with sealed orders, 
to be opened two days out, and these directed Anderson to land 
at Omoa in Honduras and seize the castle of San Fernando, a 
very strong fortress, which was to be a rendezvous for other ex- 
peditions to follow. In this way the war vessels at the Nica- 
raguan ports might be avoided. Walker felt justified in land- 

*■ Reminiscences, 201. 


ing an armed force at any point in Central America on account of 
the war which all the States had midertaken against him. The 
filibusters, however, came to grief before reaching their desti- 
nation, as the Susan early on the morning of December 16 struck 
a coral reef about sixty miles from Belize. After being stranded 
there for three days the men were taken off and landed on a small 
island, where they subsisted for a week or more on tropical fruits 
and fish and some of the ship's stores which were saved from the 
wreck. The schooner's single boat was taken by Maury and An- 
derson to Belize, where they tried, unsuccessfully, to secure another 
vessel to take them to their destination. Luckily, the British 
war sloop Basilisk was on hand, and her captain came to the 
rescue. He not only took the shipwrecked filibusters on board 
his ship, but offered to convey them home, regarding them not 
as filibusters but as shipwrecked citizens of a friendly nation. 
The Basilisk reached Mobile on New Year's day, and less than 
a month after their departure the filibusters were back at their 
starting point. As they entered the harbour they passed very 
close to the revenue cutter which had caused them so much trouble, 
and its commander must have looked upon their present discom- 
fiture with little or no regret. The citizens of Mobile gave a 
banquet in honour of the officers of the Basilisk and bestowed upon 
them the freedom of the city in recognition of their kind treatment 
of Walker's disappointed and unfortunate followers.^ 

Secretary Cobb, shortly after the return of the wrecked filibus- 
ters, ordered their prosecution, and on January 19 the prin- 
cipals in the Susan episode, Anderson, Maury, Natzmer, and 
others, were hailed before a United States commissioner and held 
in a bond of $2500 each for violation of the neutrality law. The 
grand jury, however, would find no bill, and they were not further 

1 On the voyage and wreck of the /Susan see Harper's Weekly, III., 22-39 ; Wheeler 
Scrapbook no. 4, 335 ; Doubleday, Reminiscences, 192-216 ; British State Papers, 
XLVIII., 756 ; Mobile Register, Jan. 4, 1859. 


molested.^ Julius Hesse, the agent of J. G. Humphries, who 
owned the Siisan, Fashion, and Alice Tainter, brought suit in the 
State court against Sanford for $25,000 damages for his refusal to 
issue a clearance to the Alice Tainter. The collector alleged that 
his act was that of an ofl&cer of the United States and secured a 
transference of the case to the United States circuit court, where- 
upon Hesse gave up the fight and a nolle prosequi was entered .^ 

The news of Walker's intended return threw the Central Amer- 
icans into a panic, in spite of the protection afforded by English^ 
French, and American warships. On January 18 the Nicara- 
guan government requested the British to land marines and assist 
in expelling the filibusters in case they should escape the vigilance 
of the combined fleets and succeed in landing. Commodore 
Mcintosh, commanding the American squadron, made overtures 
to the government, intimating that he would be pleased also to 
receive a request to land his forces if it should prove necessary.^ 
The Nicaraguans were not satisfied with this protection, and pro- 
fessed great fear of an attack from the Pacific side, which was 
undefended. They pretended to fear that the filibusters, finding 
it impossible to land at any port on the eastern coast of Nicaragua, 
would go to Aspinwall, cross the isthmus, take a vessel at Panama' 
and land unopposed at San Juan del Sur or Realejo. At their 
urgent request, therefore. Sir William Gore Ouseley, then in the 
country to negotiate a treaty, asked the commander of the Brit- 
ish ship Vixen to visit all the small ports on the Pacific and prevent 
any filibusters from landing there. Ouseley had gone to Nica- 
ragua to negotiate a treaty of commerce and navigation and to 
relinquish the Mosquito protectorate ; and the naval demonstra- 
tion in the Caribbean was intended by his government ostensibly 
for his protection. Malmesbury had stated that so long as 
Ouseley remained in Central America the British war vessels 

1 House Ex. Doc. 25, 35 Cong., 2 Sees. ; Mobile Register, Jan. 20 and June 2, 1859. 
» Mobae Register, May 26, 1859. « British State Papers, L., 150-1. 


would repel any filibustering invasion. The diplomat thus be- 
came to Nicaragua a kind of insurance against Walker's return, 
and the wily oflBcials resolved to delay their negotiations as much 
as possible and keep the minister on their soil as long as the Brit- 
ish government would tolerate their procrastination. As soon as 
negotiations would be well under way an alarm that the filibusters 
were coming would be manufactured, and the treaty-making 
would be suspended. Some of the reports were of the silliest 
character imaginable. In March, for example, it was published 
abroad that Walker, under the assumed name of Wilson, had 
crossed the isthmus of Panama with one hundred and fifty of his 
followers on his way to California, where he would organize an- 
other expedition. It was also reported that Henningsen and a 
large band of followers were marching through Mexico to join 
Walker in California, where it was planned to embark over a 
thousand men for Nicaragua. Strange to say, Ouseley accepted 
all these reports in good faith, and doggedly persisted in his efforts 
to secure a treaty. Malmesbury finally intimated to him that he 
was being made the victim of a ruse, and that the explanations 
given for the delay in the negotiations were unsatisfactory. It 
was evident that the Nicaraguans at this time were loath to 
consent to the withdrawal of the protectorate over the Mosquito 
Coast, as it would leave their flank more exposed to filibustering 
invasions. In August Ouseley was called home, having accom- 
plished very little.^ 

In September, 1859, the filibusters, who had been very quiet 
during the year, again began to show signs of activity. Walker 
had spent a good part of the summer in New York, and, it was 
thought, had secured the promise of more arms from George 
Law. At any rate, in September the steamer Philadelphia re- 
ceived a large supply of arms and ammunition and left New York 
for New Orleans, where filibusters appeared to be congregating. 

1 Briiiah State Papers, L., 147, 186. 189-90. 214-^8. 


On the day fixed for departure, to avoid suspicion, the men went 
several miles below the city and boarded the towboat Panther, 
which landed them at the Southwest Pass. Here they intended 
to wait for the steamer which was to pick them up after leaving 
the port. A clearance for Aspinwall was asked for the Philadel- 
phia, but as the government officials had become suspicious of 
the movements among the friends of Walker, it was refused. The 
United States marshal secured a company of artillery from the 
garrison at Baton Rouge and proceeded to the Southwest Pass, 
where he arrested the waiting filibusters. They took their arrest 
good-naturedly, raising a black flag as a joke when the troops 
came in sight and stated that they were only taking a little fishing 
trip down the river. When they were taken back to New Orleans, 
Anderson, Maury, Fayssoux and William W. Scott, their leaders, 
were held in bail to the amount of three thousand dollars, but 
were later released, as a Federal grand jury failed to return an 
indictment against them.^ The others were quartered in the bar- 
racks below the city, whence they decamped, as they were not 
placed under guard. The Philadelphia was searched, but noth- 
ing suspicious was reported by the searchers. The following night, 
however, the arms were thrown overboard. On hearing of this the 
government officers libelled the vessel. A second search revealed 
a concealed hatchway covered with tar so as to be indistinguish- 
able, and with barrels placed over it as an extra precaution. This 
hatchway was opened, and disclosed a secret compartment filled 
with ammunition.^ 

1 New Orleans Picayune, Oct. 18 and 25, 1859. 

2 Mobile Register, Oct. 5, 9, 20, 22, 26, 1859; New York Herald, Oct. 6, 
7, 8, 10, 1859 ; Harper's Weekly, III., 663 ; British Accounts and Papers, 1860, 
LXVIII., 295-7. On October 7, 1859, Howell Cobb wrote to President Buchanan : 
"You will be gratified to learn that the Walker expedition has in all probability 
been frustrated by the energy of our officers. We heard that [illegible] and two 
hundred men were to go from New York in the St. Louis when I directed the proper 
steps to be taken there to prevent it. The St. Louis was accordingly refused a 
clearance." The Correspondence of Robert Toombs, Alexander H. Stephens, and 
Howell Cobb, 447, edited by U. B. Phillips. (In Annual Report of the American 
Historical Association, 1911, II.) 



During the period in which Walker was compelled to remain 
quietly under the eye of the government he was not idle. Though 
forced to lay aside the sword, he found occasion to wield a mightier 
weapon, the pen, in the use of which he had acquired skill while 
editing newspapers. He was now engaged in the preparation of 
a history of his career in Nicaragua, and in the spring of 1860 
the work was published in Mobile in the form of an octavo volume 
of 431 pages and under the title of The War in Nicaragua. The 
book contains a very full account of the filibuster's experience in 
Nicaragua from the sailing of the Vesta until his surrender to 
Commander Davis. His previous experience in Lower California 
is summarized in six pages of the first chapter, and it is evident, 
from the gingerly manner in which he deals with this part of 
his career, that he did not regard it as a very pleasant subject. 
Throughout the book the author always refers to himself in the 
third person. The style is clear, terse, and direct, and the dic- 
tion is pure. His treatment of both friend and foe is remarkably 
dispassionate, and his pen has betrayed very little of the emotion 
that he must have experienced as he sat and recounted the events 
of his rise and fall. The facts are recorded with scrupulous ac- 
curacy, and the greatest compliment that could be paid him on 
this score has come from hostile Central American historians, 
who while impugning his motives and condemning his acts accept 
his version of the actual events without question.^ 

Few writers have succeeded in narrating a story in which they 
have played such a predominant part with so little revelation of 
their own personality. To the reader the author appears as the 
cold embodiment of an idea or purpose rather than as a being 
endowed with all the traits characteristic of human nature. A 
careful study of the work shows that the main purpose of its author 
was not merely to record the history of his struggle for supremacy 

1 MontAfar, for example, when confronted by conflicting statements, usually 
accepts Walker's version in preference to that of his own countrymen. 


in Central America, but also to make an effective appeal for South- 
ern aid and sympathy in his further efforts toward this goal. In 
Chapter VIII he poses as a potential saviour of the Southern cause, 
and asserts that the Nicaraguan movement offers the South a 
last and only hope for the safeguarding of her existing economic 
and social institutions. It is this chapter which has caused 
Walker to appear in the eyes of many students of his history as 
one of the chief apostles of slavery propagandism. Due regard, 
however, should be given to the circumstances under which the 
work was written. 

It was at this time that Walker took another step that seemed 
to many only further preparation for his return to Latin America. 
Born and bred in a strictly Protestant atmosphere, and mani- 
festing in early life a deeply religious nature, he now announced 
a change of heart and became a communicant in the Roman 
Catholic Church. His friends declared this a result of genuine 
conversion ; his enemies scoffed at his sincerity and claimed that 
his purpose was to allay any prejudice which might have existed 
against him in Central America on account of his Protestantism. 

Shortly after the detention of the Philadelphia, news came from 
Honduras that revived the drooping hopes of the filibusters. 
For nearly a decade the disposition of certain islands off the coast 
of that country had been a bone of contention between Great 
Britain and the United States. In 1841 Colonel McDonald, the 
British superintendent of Belize and the Warwick of the Mos- 
quito Kingdom, hauled down the Hondm-an flag on the island of 
Ruatan and raised the British flag in its stead, claiming Ruatan 
as a dependency of Belize. This island had fine harbours, which 
were rare on that coast, and a commanding geographical position, 
so that the reasons for British encroachment were not far to seek. 
The Clayton-Bulwer treaty, in 1850, according to the American 
interpretation, had stipulated the restoration of this island to 
Honduras. The British government, however, not only retained 


its hold on Ruataii but added to it in 1852 five other islands which 
it designated collectively as "The Colony of Bay Islands." ^ In 
the United States this action evoked much resentment, and the 
Senate passed a resolution declaring it a violation of the Clayton- 
Bulwer treaty. The Dallas-Clarendon treaty of 1856 was amended 
in the Senate by the insertion of a clause restoring the Bay Islands 
to Honduras. The British government rejected this and suggested 
in turn that the disposition of the colony should be fixed by a 
treaty between Great Britain and Honduras. The American gov- 
ernment would not concede that Honduras should dispose of any 
of her territory by treaty with a European power. The question 
remained in dispute, therefore, until November 28, 1859, when 
Charles Lennox Wyke, the successor of Sir William Gore Ouseley, 
concluded a treaty with Honduras providing for the restoration 
of the Bay Islands to that government.^ 

A large portion of the inhabitants of Ruatan, being British 
subjects, were bitterly opposed to the transfer of the island to 
Honduras and sent a memorial to Queen Victoria praying that 
the Wyke treaty be not ratified. The ratification was announced 
to the islanders on May 21, whereupon a public meeting was 
held and a declaration was adopted setting forth certain guaran- 
tees they would ask for the protection of their civil and religious 
liberties.^ Reports of these proceedings in the American press 
gave great encouragement to the filibusters, as they seemed to 
foreshadow another Central American revolution. 

Early in the spring of 1860 one of the discontented Bay Islanders 
visited New Orleans and sought to invite Walker to Ruatan to 
aid them in resisting the Hondurans. Walker was visiting in 
Louisville at the time, and the islander conferred with Fayssoux 

I British State Papers, XL VI., 246 ff. 

» Huberich, C. H., The Trans-Isthmian Canal: A Sttidy in American Diplomatic 
History, 12. (Austin, Tex., 1904.) 

» MS., Archives, State Department, Notes to Department, Central America, III. ; 
Notes from Department, I., 177-196. 


and left word with him for the filibuster leader to come down and 
help. On returning to New Orleans in April, Walker was apprized 
of the visit, and at once saw another opportunity of regaining his 
place in Nicaragua. He would put himself at the head of another 
body of followers, expel the Hondurans from Ruatan, and use this 
island as a base from which to recommence his work of "regener- 
ating" Central America. He at once began his preparations, and 
on April 20 sent forward a small party to prepare the way for the 
others. Among these was one of his former officers. Captain West. 
Others followed in May and June as regular passengers on the fruit 
vessels, and their wants were looked after by the disaffected islanders . 
As the number of strange visitors increased, some of the natives 
grew suspicious. Many of these were negroes, and loyal Britishers 
assured them that they would be enslaved by the Americans.^ 
The president of Honduras at this time was none other than 
the Guardiola whom the American Phalanx had defeated in 1855 
at Virgin Bay. As soon as he and the British authorities got word 
of the coming of the filibusters they agreed to postpone the trans- 
fer of the islands while the invasion was threatening. In June 
Rudler and Dolan, former officers of Walker's, with about twenty 
others, took passage on the schooner Clifton at New Orleans for 
Ruatan. This vessel carried arms and other supplies manifested 
in her papers as merchandise. Walker and Henry embarked 
on the schooner John E. Taylor with another section of the ex- 
pedition. The Clifton arrived at Belize on June 14 and pro- 
ceeded to discharge a portion of her cargo assigned to that port. 
The large number of passengers on board made the authorities 
suspicious, and an officer came on board and searched the vessel, 
finding that some of the boxes manifested as merchandise contained 
ammunition. These were seized as contraband, and a clearance 
for Ruatan was refused. The captain of the schooner then pro- 
tested, hauled down his flag, and abandoned his vessel. Another 

1 New York Herald, July 25, Sept. 1, 1860. 


schooner was chartered, however, and the men were taken to 
Ruatan. Off this island they met the Taylor with Walker and 
Henry and their party aboard. The entire command was now 
placed aboard the Taylor and taken to the small island of Cozu- 
mel, where the men constructed a rude shelter, as it was the rainy 
season, and waited for expected supplies from New Orleans. 
They were greatly disappointed at finding the British flag still 
flying over the islands and could do nothing but wait for the 
transfer to take place. After a week spent on the island the men 
were reembarked and cruised for about three weeks watching 
for the supply vessel that never came, and for the striking of the 
British colours that never occurred.^ 

Finally Walker resolved on the desperate plan of making an 
attack on the fortress at Truxillo, on the mainland in Honduras. 
As Honduras had made war upon him as President of Nicaragua, 
he easily persuaded himself that he was now justified in retaliating. 
The plans were very similar to those he had followed in capturing 
Granada five years before. They sailed past the town by night 
and landed in the darkness three miles up the bay. A march 
upon the fort was then begun, but their landing had been ob- 
served, and the people were forewarned. The filibusters reached 
the town just at daybreak and were fired upon from an ambush. 
They rushed the fort, however, which was held by only a cor- 
poral's guard, and soon had the shelter of its walls and the con- 
trol of the town without losing a man, though several were 
wounded. The fort was a good specimen of a Spanish-American 
fortress, and furnished comfortable quarters for the men as well 
as additional ammunition, which was found in its magazine. 
A hospital was provided for the wounded and for two or three 
who had contracted fever, and supplies were obtained — we are 
not told how — from the town. 

* MS., Archives, State Department, Central America, Notes'to'Departraent, III. ; 
New York Herald, July 25, Aug. 18. 1860 ; Bntinh State Papers, L.. 327-8. 


Truxillo was captured on August 6, and on the following day 
Walker issued an address to the people of Honduras, giving his 
reasons for entering their country and assuring them that he did 
not make war on the people, but only on a government which 
stood in the way of the interests of all Central America, and that 
they might rely on him for the protection of their personal and 
property rights. The reasons he gives for the invasion are not 
stated with his usual clarity of expression. He was invited to 
Nicaragua over five years before, he says, and was promised cer- 
tain rights and privileges upon rendering certain services to that 
State. These services were faithfully rendered, and then the 
Honduran government joined a coalition to expel him from Cen- 
tral America. The people of the Bay Islands now find themselves 
in a position very similar to that occupied by the Americans in 
Nicaragua in 1855, and the same conditions which caused Guar- 
diola to fight the latter will cause him to drive the Bay Islanders 
from Honduras. A knowledge of this fact has caused some of 
the residents of the islands to ask " the adopted citizens of Nica- 
ragua" to aid them in the maintenance of their rights, but no 
sooner had a few of these arrived than Guardiola delayed to re- 
ceive the territory, thus injuring the territorial interests of Hon- 
duras and thwarting "a cardinal object of Central American 
policy." Moreover, the people of the islands will never submit 
to Honduran authority unless they receive certain concessions 
which Guardiola will never make, and hence they and the nat- 
uralized Nicaraguans have certain interests in common. It is 
now their common purpose to place in power in Honduras those 
who would concede the rights required by the islanders in Hon- 
duras and by the adopted citizens in Nicaragua.^ 

Walker's followers were given to understand that they might 
expect the aid of Cabanas. It will be recalled that Cabanas had 
visited Walker at Granada in November, 1855, and had then 

»New York Tribune, Aug. 29, Sept. 15; Harper's Weekly, IV., 583. 


endeavoured to secure his assistance in overthrowing the Legiti- 
mist government in Honduras. Walker's refusal had turned 
both Cabanas and Jerez into avowed enemies/ and both had used 
their influence to secure his expulsion. Cabanas was now in 
exile in San Salvador, but there was no reason to believe that 
he would welcome the return of the filibusters, however much he 
may have hated Guardiola. 

As soon as the Americans had established themselves in Tru- 
xillo they proceeded to put the fort in order, overhauling the dis- 
mantled guns, remounting many of them on carriages, converting 
the old military prison into a commissariat, and preparing if need 
be to remain there indefinitely. Walker issued an order abolish- 
ing customs duties and making Truxillo a free port, thus adding, 
as the sequel showed, another to his many blunders. He was 
unfortunate, a few days after his arrival, in losing the officer in 
whom he placed his greatest reliance. Thomas Henry, who dur- 
ing the Mexican War and later in Nicaragua proved such a fighter, 
receiving during the war with the allies eight wounds in about as 
many months, while under the influence of liquor entered the 
magazine with a lighted cigar. Always spoiling for a fight, in 
battle or out, and especially so when inflamed with drink, he 
attacked the officer who ordered him out of the place, and the 
latter in self-defence shot Henry in the face, the bullet shattering 
the jawbone. For days he lay at the point of death, and Walker 
is said to have remained constantly by his side when duties did 
not demand his presence elsewhere. His loss was greater than that 
of fifty ordinary specimens of the genus filibuster.- 

On the 19th of August there arrived in port H. M. S. Icarus, 
Norvell Salmon commander.^ From him two days later Walker 
received a note stating that the customs of the port had been 

1 See above, p. 160-1. » Jamison, With Walker in Nicaragua, 168 ff. 

> The Spanish authorities in Havana also despatched a war vessel to Truxillo 
on learning of Walker's landing there, but it arrived too late to be of service. Brit- 
tah State Papers, LI., 1288. 


mortgaged to the British government to pay a debt for which 
this government had made itself responsible, but that since Walk- 
er's arrival the funds in the custom-house had been seized, trade 
had ceased, the interests of British merchants had been seriously 
affected, and the presence of the invaders had deferred the com- 
pletion of a treaty between Great Britain and Honduras. For 
these reasons, therefore, he felt it his duty to demand that Walker 
lay down his arms, return the funds taken from the custom-house, 
and reembark, leaving his military stores behind as a surety against 
further descents upon the coast. The oflScers, however, would 
be allowed to retain their side arms. Upon compliance with this 
demand, the safety and personal property of the men would be 
guaranteed by the British iflag. 

Walker replied at once, denying any knowledge of money being 
taken from the custom-house and stating that had he known the 
facts as given in Salmon's letter he would not have sought to mod- 
ify the customs regulations of the port. His whole tone is apol- 
ogetic, and quite different from that he had previously assumed in 
his communications with naval officers. His presence in Tru- 
xillo, he told Salmon, was " due entirely to the engagements which 
I consider I had in honour contracted with a people desirous of 
living in Central America under the ancient laws and customs of 
the realm, claiming with them common interests under the in- 
stitutions derived from the code of Alfred. I thought it no wrong 
to assist them in the maintenance of the rights they had lawfully 
acquired." He concluded his note by saying that he deemed it 
no dishonour to lay down his arms to a British officer, but asked 
for particulars as to what Salmon would do in such an event.^ 

In reply Salmon expressed his gratification that Walker deemed 
it no dishonour to surrender to him and gave further reasons for 
making this demand. The government of Honduras did not 
seem "to wish the code of Alfred introduced into the country in 

1 New York HeraM, Sept. 28, 1860. 


the manner that you propose." Numerous requests for protec- 
tion had come to him from the inhabitants of Truxillo and Omoa, 
among those at the latter place being the American consul ; and 
he proposed to give it as he was authorized to do by international 
law. He would take the responsibility of giving Walker and his 
men the protection of the British flag, though in doing so he was 
liable to a reprimand from his superiors, but they must leave the 
country at their own expense. Two schooners were then in the 
harbour and terms could be made with them. The funds in the 
custom-house, amounting to more than three thousand dollars in 
coin and government paper, had been taken by some one in Walk- 
er's service, and the leader would be held responsible. More- 
over, he would not recognize the right of a private individual to 
make war upon a recognized government, and he failed to see 
what political rights a people desirous of living in Central America 
could have lawfully acquired.^ 

This communication was received late in the afternoon, and 
the messenger was told to return at ten o'clock the next morning 
for a reply. Preparations were begun immediately for abandon- 
ing the fort. Surplus Minie rifles were broken up, and all the 
powder that could not be carried away was thrown into water. 
In the hospital were six men sick and wounded, among them the 
dying Henry. They were left in charge of the surgeon and the 
hospital steward, and at midnight the rest of the command, to 
the number of eighty, slipped quietly out of the fort and pro- 
ceeded eastward along the coast in the direction of Cape Gracias. 
The men left behind in the hospital passed an anxious night, 
expecting at any moment a murderous incursion of the natives. 
Early the next morning the surgeon. Dr. E. H. Newton, notified 
Salmon of their predicament, and the sick and wounded men were 
placed under British protection before the natives were aware of 
Walker's departure.^ 

» New York Herald, Sept. 28, 1860. * Ibid., Sept. 16, 1860. 


Native troops started in pursuit of the fleeing filibusters, and 
on the 23d overtook and attacked them at Cotton Tree on the 
Roman River. The pursuers were driven back, but Walker had 
one man killed and a number wounded. He himself was slightly- 
wounded in the face. Continuing their flight and always followed 
by the enemy, they reached an abandoned mahogany camp called 
Limon (or Limas), where they were refreshed with food supplied 
by Carib Indians, the latter being inveterate foes of the Hondu- 
rans. Reaching the Rio Negro, they followed it to within four 
miles of its mouth, where they encamped at the trading post of 
an Englishman named Demsing. 

In the meantime Salmon in the Icarus had reached the mouth 
of the Rio Negro, knowing that the filibusters would have to stop 
on reaching its banks, and was accompanied by a schooner bearing 
two hundred and fifty natives under a Honduran oflacer named 
Alvarez. The British officer on September 3 took two boats 
and forty men up the river and on reaching the trading post sum- 
moned Walker to a conference and demanded his surrender. 
Salmon in a typically bluff and pompous English fashion notified 
the filibuster chief that there was a large force of natives at the 
mouth of the river and that he should thank the British that he 
had a whole bone in his body. Walker twice asked to whom he 
surrendered, and was assured that it was to a British officer.^ 

The entire command were then put aboard the Icarus and taken 
back to Truxillo, where they were landed as prisoners. Walker 
and Rudler were given up unconditionally to the Honduran au- 
thorities, while the others, numbering about seventy, were held 
as prisoners under British protection, to be sent home as soon as 
possible. Salmon announced that he would hang anyone who 
injured any of those under his flag, and the natives showed the 
men great kindness, not because of Salmon's threat, but out of 

1 New York Herald, Oct. 4, 1860; New York Tribune, Oct. 4, 1860; Harper's 
Weekly, IV., 647. 


sympathy with the captives, most of whom were in wretched 
physical condition and penniless besides. 

When they reached Truxillo Walker was about the only member 
of his party who showed no sign of depression. To a newspaper 
correspondent who boarded the Icarus, he talked at some length 
and turned over to him his correspondence with Salmon, which 
he desired to be published. He then dictated the following 
protest : 

"On board the Steamer Icarus, 
"Sept. 5, 1860. 

"I hereby protest before the civilized world that when I sur- 
rendered to the captain of Her Majesty's steamer Icarus, that 
officer expressly received my sword and pistol, as well as the 
arms of Colonel Rudler, and the surrender was expressly made 
in so many words to him, as the representative of Her Britannic 


William Walker." ^ 

Walker found himself a prisoner in the very fort that he had 
abandoned a fortnight before. The room which he had converted 
into a commissariat was now his dungeon. Here he was con- 
fined six days. As soon as he was incarcerated he sent for a priest 
and told him that he wished to prepare for death. He showed 
an unusual concern for his men, and begged that they should not 
be made to suffer, declaring that they knew nothing of his sudden 
resolve to reach Nicaragua by way of Truxillo, and that he alone 
was to blame.^ On September 11 he was told that he was to 
die on the following morning, and received the news with no sign 
of emotion. At eight o'clock on the appointed day a detachment 
of soldiers escorted him from the prison to the place of execution. 

1 New York Herald, Sept. 28, 1860. 

' This is the statement of Joaquin Miller, who received the story of Walker's last 
hoiirs froin_the priest who was with him till his death. See Sunset Magazine, XVI., 


Accompanied by two priests, he walked erect and resolute, with 
the appearance of being engaged in earnest religious devotion. 
His whole attention seemed occupied with the consolations of the 
priests. A large crowd followed the procession, and faces ap- 
peared at every door and window along the street. Among the 
natives there seemed to be great jubilation that the terrible 
Walker was soon to be no more. At the ruins of an old garrison, 
about a quarter of a mile outside the town, the procession halted. 
Walker was conducted to an angle in a ruined wall, and the soldiers 
were drawn up on three sides of a square with the wall forming 
the fourth side. The priests now administered the last rites of 
the church and withdrew, while a squad of soldiers stepped for- 
ward and fired at the command. A second squad fired a volley 
at the fallen body, and a single soldier then went up, and placing 
his musket close to the head, fired again, mutilating the lifeless 
face. The troops then formed in column and marched away, 
leaving the corpse where it fell. The priests and several Ameri- 
cans secured a coffin and gave the remains a Christian burial.^ 
Some time later an effort was made to secure the removal of the 
body for burial in Tennessee, but the Honduran authorities would 
not permit it.^ Among Walker's effects was the great seal of 

* There are several different versions of Walker's execution. None are plausible 
except the one here given. According to one account, Walker made a speech, stat- 
ing that he died in the Roman Catholic faith ; that he had done wrong in making 
war on the Hondurans and desired their forgiveness ; that his men were not to blame, 
and that he was ready to die. {Harper's Weekly, IV., 647.) One version says that 
he spoke in Spanish (Jamison, With Walker in Nicaragua) ; another that a priest 
spoke for him. As a matter of fact he spoke to none save the ministering priests. 
The entire account of Walker's last expedition given by Jamison as narrated by a 
survivor fifty years later is erroneous and misleading. The version accepted by the 
author is that given by two of Walker's officers, Dolan and West (New York Herald, 
Oct. 4, 1860), immediately after their return to the United States, and while the 
events were still fresh in their minds. Moreover, this is substantiated from two 
other contemporary sources. William S. Elton, an engineer on the Panama Rail- 
way, who chanced to be in Truxillo at this time and claimed to be an eyewitness of 
the execution, and a filibuster deserter named Scheffe, gave accounts which corre- 
spond very closely to that given by Dolan and West. See New Orleans DeUa^ 
Oct. 5, 1860. 

* American History Magazine, III., 219. 


Nicaragua, which was returned to President Martinez, along with 
the sword which he had surrendered to Salmon. The latter was 
given to the keeping of the city of Granada, where it might be 
cherished as an emblem of the destruction of its destroyer.^ 

Walker was no more. The fate which he had so ruthlessly 
decreed against Mayorga, Corral, and Salazar had now fallen 
upon himself, and none can say that it was undeserved ; for his 
attack upon the inoffensive garrison and town of Truxillo was 
wholly indefensible. At the same time, none can approve the 
means by which his death was accomplished. The action of 
Salmon in receiving Walker's surrender to a British officer and 
then delivering him to the tender mercies of the Hondurans was 
nothing less than treachery of the basest sort, and entirely in- 
consistent with the high sense of honour that has always char- 
acterized the officers in the British naval service. Had the fili- 
buster chieftain known the real purposes of Salmon, he would 
undoubtedly have fought to the end and have died like a soldier 
rather than like a felon. Granting even that Walker was no 
better than a pirate, Salmon had given him an officer's word, 
and he tarnished his epaulets when that word was broken. 

By a strange coincidence, on the very day of Walker's death, 
his friend Edmund Randolph, delivering an address in San Fran- 
cisco in celebration of the tenth anniversary of California's admis- 
sion into the Union, made a reference to Walker that was in part 
almost prophetic: "You cannot tell to-day which pine sings 
the requiem of the pioneer. Some have fallen beneath their 
country's flag; and longings still unsatisfied have led some to 
renew their adventurous career upon foreign soils. Combating 
for strangers whose quarrels they espoused, they fell amid the 
jungles of the tropics and fatted the rank soil there with right 
precious blood. Or, upon the sands of an accursed waste, they 
were bound and slaughtered by inhuman men, who lured them with 

' Perez, Memoriaa, pt. 2, 216. 


promises and repaid their coming with a most cruel assassina- 
tion." ^ 

It was the irony of fate that President Mora, the soul of the 
native resistance to American filibustering, should perish in the 
same month and in the same manner as Walker. He had been 
reelected president of Costa Rica in May, 1859, but a conspiracy 
of the discontented faction in the following August drove him 
from power and expelled him from the country. He came to the 
United States, and later settled on a coffee plantation in San 
Salvador. Some of his former supporters and others who were 
disaffected toward the existing government urged him to return 
and regain his power. In September he landed at Punta Arenas 
and collected three or four hundred followers, but was attacked 
before beginning his march on the capital. His supporters fled 
incontinently, and he surrendered. Tried by a drum-head court- 
martial on September 30, he was condemned to die, and was 
shot within three hours after sentence was passed. Two days 
afterward his brother-in-law. General Caiias, incurred the same 

All of Walker's followers except Rudler were kept in the custody 
of the British; eleven were sent home by way of Havana, and 
fifty-seven of them were taken direct to New Orleans in H. M. S. 
Gladiator.^ Rudler was sentenced to die, but at Salmon's inter- 
vention his sentence was commuted to four years' imprisonment. 
Later some of his friends in the United States intervened and 
secured his pardon.^ After Walker's departure from the United 
States two detachments of reinforcements followed him. The 
first, consisting of thirty-five men, sailed from New Orleans on 
August 31, and the second, somewhat larger, sailed two weeks 
later. The latter passed the mail steamer bringing news of Walk- 

1 The last sentence refers to Crabb. Shuck, Representative Men of the Pacific, 597. 

* Bancroft, Central America, III., 372-5 ; Harper's Weekly, IV„ 679. 
» London Times, Oct. 12, 1860 ; New York Herald, Oct. 4, 1860. 

* Jamison, With Walker in Nicaragua, 176. 


er's capture, but had no communication with it, and learned 
the facts only on arriving off Ruatan. There was nothing for 
these expeditionists to do but to return to New Orleans. 

The news of Walker's death was received in the United States 
with little less than indifference. His repeated failures had caused 
thousands who once had wished him well to look upon his further 
undertakings with stern disapproval. Even in his native city of 
Nashville, where personally he enjoyed the highest respect as a 
man of education and irreproachable private life, his fellow towns- 
men believed that his talents should have been employed to better 
advantage. His home paper, in commenting upon his death, said, 
"There are thousands in this country who will hear of his death 
with regret, — as that of a man who had qualities and capacities 
entitling him to a better fate. Throughout his career he has shown 
a degree of steady courage, of unflinching tenacity of purpose un- 
der the most disheartening reverses, which would have earned for 
him a high position if they had been used in subordination to law 
and in harmony with the public good." ^ In like manner, in New 
Orleans, where he had thousands of sympathizers, his repeated 
failures shook the faith of those who once had believed in his des- 
tiny, and a paper that had hitherto been favourable declared that 
"The mad and unwarrantable enterprise of the great filibuster 
has ended in disaster and defeat. Another band of brave, but 
recklessly impulsive, young Americans have, it is most probable, 
by this time met with the fate of their predecessors in Central 
America." ^ With these critical estimates of the man where he 
was best known in the South it is interesting to compare the 
criticisms of the papers of New York, where Walker was best 
known in the North. To quote the New York Times: "What- 
ever hard things may have been said of General Walker — and 

» Nashville Republican Banner. Sept. 30, 1860. 

• New Orleans Commerical Bulletin, quoted by the Nashville Republican Banner, 
Sept. 16, 1860. 


much, we doubt not, would have been left unsaid had his fortune 
been more propitious — he was at least no vulgar adventurer, 
either by birth, habits, or education, or the honourable purposes 
with which he set out in life. His parentage was unsullied, his 
private walk and temperance unquestioned, his learning profound, 
and his original aims, however subsequently misdirected by an 
unchastened ambition, such as commended him to success, while 
enlisting the esteem of numerous friends. Even those who deny 
him all claims to military skill or political sagacity as a leader, pay 
the highest compliment to his moral force and personal integrity, 
since without these his first failure as an adventurer must inevi- 
tably have been his last." Another New York journal attributed 
the outcome to Walker's failure to win the wealthy and influential 
citizens to his support. Instead of seeking to win friends, he 
manifested only a blind and foolish reliance on his own destiny. 
Nevertheless, it averred, "had William Walker been an English- 
man, or a Frenchman, he would never have become a 'filibuster,' 
but would have found ample scope for the exercise of his extra- 
ordinary qualities in the legitimate service of his country." It 
compared the government's ban upon Walker's undertakings to 
the attitude of the Church of England towards Knox, Whitefield, 
and Wesley.^ 

In his annual message to Congress in December, 1860, President 
Buchanan barely missed congratulating the country upon the 
death of Walker. "I congratulate you upon the public senti- 
ment which now exists against the crime of setting on foot mili- 
tary expeditions within the limits of the United States, to proceed 
from thence and make war upon the people of unoffending states 
with whom we are at peace. In this respect a happy change has 
been effected since the commencement of my administration. 
It surely ought to be the prayer of every Christian and patriot 
that such expeditions may never again receive countenance or 

1 Harper's Weekly, I., 200, 332. 


depart from our shores." ^ Henningsen, however, voiced quite a 
different sentiment in a long letter in vindication of his late chief- 
tain. "So far," said he, "from filibusterism being laid in the 
grave of William Walker, it may safely be predicted that from 
every drop of blood shed from the death wounds inflicted, as we 
are informed, 'amidst the cheers of the natives,' to whom he had 
been delivered up, bound by the infamy of Norvell Salmon, will 
spring another ardent filibuster." ^ But Henningsen was wrong. 
His dead chieftain was the last, as well as the greatest, of American 
filibusters. The surplus energies of the young nation, which were 
the fundamental cause of such enterprises, were soon to find an- 
other outlet in four years of terrible civil war ; and the result of 
this struggle was to remove another, but only a proximate, cause 
of filibustering, African slavery. 

Even before the death of Walker all immediate prospects of 
a regenerated Central America had disappeared. A region that 
for twenty years had been wasted by civil wars, and whose het- 
erogeneous population had demonstrated its inability to govern 
itself or prevent its own political dissolution, certainly needed 
the introduction of a new element to set things in order. The 
Nicaraguan emigrants belonged to a hardy race of toiling pioneers 
who had conquered the western wilderness and developed in half 
a decade in distant California a civilization superior to that of 
two-thirds of Europe. To Walker therefore a splendid oppor- 
tunity was given. Though he never had the support of the 
United States government, many of the most prominent political 
leaders of the nation and the leading captains of American indus- 
try interested themselves in his behalf. Yet in spite of all this he 
failed. He was not big enough for the task. In the space of six 
months he had aroused against him every force that should have 
been enlisted on his side. The qualities wherein he was strong 

1 Messages and Papers of the Presidents, V., 649. 
» Nashville Republican Banner, Oct. 10, 1860. 


proved elements of weakness. Mastered by, rather than master 
of, his dreams, with a blind belief in his own destiny, unable to 
receive advice or suggestions from others (except when it came 
from much stronger men who sought to make him a. catspaw), 
sadly lacking in knowledge of human nature, greedily hastening 
to seize supreme power, unable to conciliate opposition, but over- 
coming resistance by inspiring terror, utterly wanting in tact or 
diplomacy, his undoing was foreordained. With some fewer 
gifts of intellect, but with a broader knowledge of human nature 
and a more liberal endowment of common sense, he might have 
succeeded in putting an end to anarchy and founding a tropical 
empire on the ruins of unhappy experiments in democracy. That 
his success would have inured to the benefit of civilization few, 
perhaps, in view of the present condition of Central America, will 
be so rash as to deny. 

As it was, his enterprise, by reason of his failure, was productive 
only of evil consequences to all concerned. It was injurious to 
private capital in the United States ; it caused enormous destruc- 
tion of life and property in Nicaragua; it created a suspicion in 
Central America against the American people which still persists ; 
it had an untoward effect upon the relations of Great Britain and 
the United States; and lastly, and apparently most important 
of all, it destroyed interoceanic communication by way of the San 
Juan River and thus delayed indefinitely that "regeneration" 
of Nicaragua which he always declared to be his heart's desire. 


"Absalom, Samuel," filibuster, 233 n. 

Accessory Transit Company, organized 
by C. Vanderbilt, 79 ; traffic of, 80-1 ; 
did not initiate filibustering, 92 ; op- 
poses Kinney, 100-2 ; interest in 
Walker, 116-7, 129, 133; revocation 
of charter, 133-53 ; property sold, 
157 ; maintains claims to Transit, 

"Address of the Seven Prisoners," 234 

Ainza family, 309 

Alamo Rangers, 281, 293 

Alder, George F., 156 

Allen, Daniel B., 355 

Almy, John J., American naval officer, 

American Atlantic and Pacific Ship 
Canal Company, 79, 354. See also 
Stebbins and White Company 

Anderson, Frank P., 6, 228; joins 
Walker, 88 ; wounded at Rivas, 109 ; 
visits United States, 239 ; on San Juan 
River, 278-82 ; joins second expedi- 
tion to Nicaragua, 324 ; successes on 
San Juan River, 326-7 ; surrender of, 
331-2; trial of, 368; commands 
expedition to Omoa, 373-6 ; arrested 
at New Orleans, 379 

Apache Indians, 22 ; depredations in 
Sonora, 33 

Arguello, Manuel, 162-3 

Arizona Colonization Company, 311 

Arrow, filibuster brig, 35-6. 

Bailey, Thomas L., joins filibusters, 144 

Baker, E. D., San Francisco attorney, 
defends French consul, 59 

Baldwin, John M., filibuster officer, 259 

Bancroft, H. H., 80 n., 82 n., 118 n. 

Barillier, Lieutenant-Colonel, French 
adventurer, 181, 271 

Bay Islands, Colony of, 382, 385 

Belize, "coronation" of Mosquito king 
at, 95-6 ; filibusters at, 383 

Bell, "Alex," leads expedition to Ecua- 
dor, 18-19 

Bell, Horace, 19 n., 38 n. 

Belloso, Ram6n, Sal vadorian commander, 
249, 255 

Belly, Felix, 85 n, ; intrigues in Central 
America, 304-5, 358-63 

Benham, C, attorney for Walker, 63-4 

Benjamin, Judah P., and Tehuantepec 
Canal scheme, 339 

Bingham, Mrs. Edward, 266 

Birdsall, Hosea, Vanderbilt's emissary, 

Blanco, Miguel, captain-general of So- 
nora, 25-8 

Borland, Solon, American diplomat, 75 ; 
assaulted in Greytown, 76 

Boulbon. See Raousset-Boulbon 

Broderick, David C, in California pol- 
itics, 67 ; supported by Walker, 68, 

Brown, Albert G., senator from Missis- 
sippi, on Walker-Paulding affair, 342 

Brownlow, William G., criticises Pierce, 
168 n. 

Buchanan, James, nominated for presi- 
dency, 174 ; hostile to filibusters, 
335-7, 339-41, 351-2; proclamation 
against filibustering, 371 

Bulwer, Sir Henry, 74 

Burnett, Ward B., aids fiUbusters, 238 

Burton, H. S., Captain, U. S. A., 47 

Cabanas, Trinidad, president of Hon- 
duras, 85 ; aids Democrats in Nica- 
ragua, 113; seeks Walker's aid, 160; 
turns against Walker, 161 ; expected 
to aid filibusters, 385-6 

Caborca, Mexico, Crabb at, 313-6 

Calvo, Joaquin Bernardo, Costa Rican 
minister of foreign affairs, 162 n., 194, 

Calvo, Joseph, French vice-consul at 
Guaymas, 61 

Campbell, Malcolm, counsel for Walker, 

Canas, Jos6 Maria, Costa Rican general, 
190, 255-6, 261, 267, 269-70; com- 
mander-in-chief of allies, 288 ; plans 
coup d'etat, 355 ; death of, 393 

Caroline, filibuster brig, 36, 309 

Carracosa, Manuel, 206 

Carrera, Rafael, president of Guatemala, 
160, 249 




Carter, W. H., duel with Walker, 90 

Cass-Irisarri convention, 356-7 ; Van- 
derbilt's opposition to, 357-8 ; Belly's 
intrigues against, 360-2 

Cass, Lewis, commends Walker, 173 ; 
seeks to prevent filibustering, 318-9; 
orders Walker's release, 334 ; nego- 
tiates treaty with Nicaragua, 356-7 ; 
demands explanations of Nicaragua 
and Costa Rica, 363-4 

Castellon, Francisco, Nicaraguan revolu- 
tionist, 84-5, 109-11, 112-3; death 
of, 115 

Castillo Viejo, attempt to seize, 87 ; 
captured by Costa Ricans, 274 ; 
attacked by filibusters, 280-2 ; oc- 
cupied by Costa Rica, 354 

Cauty, Colonel, British adventurer. 270, 
274, 280-1, 283. 357 

Cazneau, William L., makes colonization 
contract with Nicaragua, 236, 238-9 

Central American Company, organiza- 
tion, 99 ; plans, 100 

Central American League, 318 

Central American, The, Kinney's news- 
paper, 106-7 

Challenge, British ship, libelled by United 
States, 55 ; takes French filibusters 
to Sonora, 56 

Chamorro, Fruto, Legitimist leader, 84 

Chatard, Frederick, Commander, 
U. S. N., 325-6, 341, 347, 368 

Chili, hostility of to Walker, 175 

Cholera, at Rivas, 190-2 ; at Granada, 
251, 257-8, 266 

Clarendon, Lord, 192, 351 

Clayton-Bulwer treaty, 73, 205, 381 

Clingman, Thomas L., Congressman, on 
Walker-Paulding controversy, 342 

Cobb, Howell, Secretary of the Treas- 
ury, 323-4 ; opposes filibusters, 372, 
376, 379 n. 

Cockburn, Captain, British naval officer, 
277, 279, 284 

Cole, Byron, 6, 228 ; interested in 
Central America, 70-1, 84; makes 
contract with Nicaraguan revolu- 
tionists, 85-6 ; joins Walker in 
Nicaragua, 111 ; makes new contract 
with Castellon, 112; leads expedition 
to Chontales, 243 

Commercial Advertiser. San Francisco 
newspaper, edited by Walker, 70 

Confiscations, Walker's, in Nicaragua, 

Cooper, James, president of Central 
American Company, 99 

Corral, Ponciano, Legitimist leader, 118; 

makes peace with Walker. 120-1 ; 

treachery of, 122 ; execution of, 123 
Cosby, J. D., Sonoran filibuster, 311 
Costa Rica, hostile to Walker, 161, 178; 

wars on fiUbusters, 179 ; renews war, 

250 ; boundary dispute with Nicara- 
gua, 353^ ; 357-8, 360 
Crabb, Henry A., 6, 63; interest in 

Nicaragua, 86-7, 309; aids Walker, 

91 ; sketch of, 308-9 ; invades Sonora, 

310-3; defeated and executed, 314-6 
Crescent, The, New Orleans newspaper, 

edited by Walker, 13 
Crittenden, Alexander P., sketch of, 88 n.; 

aids Walker, 88, 133 
Crittenden, John J., senator from 

Kentucky, on Walker-Paulding affair, 

Crocker, Timothy, in Lower California, 

40; member of the "fifty-six," 88; 

major of American Phalanx, 108; 

killed at Rivas, 109 
Crowe, Frederick, missionary and author, 

Cuba, Walker's designs on, 217-25 
Curtis, Samuel R., Congressman, on 

Walker-Paulding affair, 343-4 
Cushing, Caleb, attorney-general of 

United States, 100, 101, 135 n., 143, 

168 ; circular against filibusters, 140 
"Custom-house party," 67 

Dallas-Clarendon treaty, 382 

Dallas, George M., attorney for Kinney, 
103 ; minister to Great Britain, 371 

Davidson, George R., in Lower Cali- 
fornia, 43 ; arrested in San Francisco, 
53 ; not prosecuted, 54 ; sketch of, 
116; death of, 116 n., 182 

Davis, Charles H., Commander, U. S. N., 
intervenes at Rivas, 294-303, 317 

Davis, Jefferson, Secretary of War, 50 ; 
issues orders against filibusters, 52 ; 
criticises General Wool, 65 ; opinion 
of Walker. 342, 350 

De Brissot, Julius, in Nicaragua, 86-7 ; 
wounded at Rivas. 109 

Del Valle, Luis, Mexican consul, 55 ; 
exploited by French consul, 55 ; con- 
victed of \nolating neutrality law, 

Democratic party, in Nicaragua, 82-3, 
117, 122, 124, 180, 252; in San 
Salvador, 159-60 

Democratic party, in United States, 
expresses sympathy with Walker, 174 

Democratic State Journal, Sacramento 
newspaper, edited by Walker, 69-70 



Despointes, Admiral, 64 

Diehl, Rev. I. S., temperance worker 
among filibusters, 242 

Dillingham, Daniel H., secretary to 
Parker H. French, 143 

Dillon, Patrice, French consul at San 
Francisco, 24 ; patron of Raousset- 
Boulbon, 25, 55 ; refuses to testify 
in Federal court, 56-7, 64 ; tried for 
violating neutrality law, 58-9 ; pub- 
lishes posthumous letter of Raousset- 
Boulbon, 61 

Dixon, M. H., British army officer, 
advises Costa Rica, 193 

Dobbin, James C, Secretary of the 
Navy, 126 

Dolan, Thomas, filibuster officer, 383 

Doolittle, James R., senator from Wis- 
consin, criticises Walker, 343 

Doubleday, Charles W., 6 ; wounded at 
Rivas, 109 ; in Walker's service, 
233-4, 278; on San Juan River, 
280-2 ; on schooner Susan, 373-5 

Douglas, Stephen A., on filibustering, 
342, 350 

Duels, Walker's, 90 ; between filibusters, 

Dusenbury, Henry, joins filibusters, 144 

Ecuador, filibustering expedition to, 19 
El Nicaraguense, Walker's newspaper, 

El Rol, Salvadorian newspaper, friendly 

to Walker, 159 
Emory, Frederic, visit to Guaymas, 31 ; 

Walker's "Secretary of State," 39, 

40 n. ; arrested for violation of 

neutrality law, 52 ; pleads gmlty, 54 
Engle, Frederick, Captain, U. S. Navy, 

Ensenada, Lower California, filibusters 

at, 38-40 
Escoto, Nasario, thanks Walker for 

ending revolution, 115 
Estrada, Jos6 Maria, claims presidency 

of Nicaragua, 165, 201 ; joins coalition 

against filibusters, 253 
Evans, Charles Edward, only survivor 

of Crabb's expedition, 315 
Ewing, EdAvin H., Nashville lawyer, 13 

Fabens, Joseph Warren, United States 
commercial agent at Greytown 76, 77, 
100; indicted in New York, 102-4; 
partner of Kinney, 105, 107 ; joins 
Walker, 129 ; colonizing agent for 
Walker, 168, 228 

Farnum, J. Egbert, filibuster officer, 278 

Fashion, filibuster steamer, 322-6, 369 

Fayssoux, Callender Irvine, 245, 287, 
383 ; sketch of, 246 ; captures Salazar, 
248 ; naval victory, 262-4 ; surrenders 
to United States officer, 302 ; returns 
to Nicaragua, 324, 328 ; arrested by 
Federal authorities, 379 

Ferguson, William J., missionary in 
Nicaragua, 253 

Ferrer, Fermin, minister-general of 
Nicaragua, 161, 182; loyalty of to 
Walker, 198 ; provisional president, 
199-204 ; secretary of state, 206, 214 ; 
rejected as minister to the United 
States, 217, 230 ; colonization con- 
tract, 236 

Field, Stephen J., opinion of Walker, 17, 

"Filibuster," name of dog, 244 

Filibuster, origin and meaning of term, 

Filibustering, causes, 1-8 

Finances of filibuster regime, 208-9 

Financiers, interest of in filibustering. 
See Garrison, C. K. ; Law, George ; 
Morgan, Charles ; and Vanderbilt, 

Fisher, Thomas F., 86, 130, 309 

Flores, Juan Jose, president of Ecuador, 

Floyd, John B., Secretary of War, 340-1 

Foote, Henry S., 308 n. ; attorney for 
filibusters, 53 

Forsyth, John, United States minister to 
Mexico, 315 

Fowler, Gilbert, Federal prosecution of, 

France, hostility of to Walker, 250 

Fremont, John C, interested in Walker's 
plans, 89 

French, Marcellus, filibuster officer, 

French, Parker H., offers aid to Walker, 
89; arrives in Nicaragua, 114 ; brings 
recruits, 118; attacks San Carlos, 
119; counsel for Corral, 123 n. ; 
minister to the United States, 137, 
166 ; recruiting activities, 138-47 ; 
minister of hacienda, 165 ; rejected as 
Nicaraguan minister, 166-7 ; exposure 
of, 168-70 ; repudiated by Walker, 171 

Fry, Birkett D., joins Walker, 118; 
attacks San Carlos, 119; judge advo- 
cate, 123 n. ; at Ometepe Island. 260 

Gabilondo, Mexican commander, 313-5 
Gandara, governor of Sonora, 31 ; sus- 
picious of Americans, 34 



Garrison, C. K., interested in Walker's 
plans, 89-90; aids Walker, 116, 125, 
133-9 ; sketch of life, 134 n. 

Garrison, W. R., son of C. K. Garrison, 
133, 138 

Gilman, Charles H., 39, 40, 125 ; arrives 
in Nicaragua, 115; death of, 116 n., 

Goicouria, Domingo de, Cuban "libera- 
tor," 6; joins Walker, 151, 182, 186, 
218-9 ; expedition to Chontales, 192 ; 
envoy to England, 217 ; early history, 
217-8 ; relations with Vanderbilt, 
219-21, 355; quarrel with Walker, 
222-4, 230 ; dealings with George Law, 

Graham, John, steamship owner, 104-5 

Granada, capture of, 117; deserted by 
natives, 251 ; attacked by allies, 253-4 ; 
evacuation of, 257 ; hospitals at, 258 ; 
siege and destruction of, 261, 264-9 

Granada, Nicaraguan war vessel, 245-8 ; 
destroys the Once de Abril, 262-4 

Great Britain, hostile to Walker, 175, 
193-5. 250-1, 307, 371 

Greeley, Horace, opinion of Walker, 306 

Green, DufT, aids Walker, 238 

"Grey-Eyed Man of Destiny," Walker's 
soubriquet, origin of term, 128-9 

Greytown, British influence at, 72-3 
description of, 73; a "free city," 74 
hostile to Transit Company, 74-5 
rioting at, 76; bombarded, 77-8 
Kinney at, 106-7 ; stranded filibusters 
at. 282-5 

Guardiola, Santos, Honduran soldier, 
110; defeated by Walker, 114-5; 
Corral's letter to, 122 ; joins allies, 
249-50 ; president of Honduras, 383, 

Guatemala, joins alliance against Walker, 

Guaymas, Mexico, De Pindray at, 22 ; 
Raousset-Boulbon at, 25-6, 28, 60-1 ; 
visited by Walker, 31-6. 

Gwin, W. M., in California politics, 67 

Hall, George B., Walker's commissary- 
general, 278 

Haly, Stanislaus T., 98 ; chief magistrate 
at Greytown, 107 

Hammond. R. P.. collector of port at 
San Francisco, 35 

Harper's Weekly, quoted, 147 ; opinion 
of Walker, 306 

Hawkins, George S., on Walker-Paulding 
affair, 345 

Heiss, John P., 316 n. ; aids filibusters, 175 

Henningsen, Charles Frederick, 6, 228; 
sketch of, 230-1 ; joins Walker, 232, 
242 ; at Virgin Bay and Masaya, 
256-7; besieged at Granada, 261, 
264-9; at Rivas, 288-306; in New 
York, 317-8, 333 ; in Mexico, 369-70 

Henry, Thomas, filibuster officer, 324, 
337 n., 383 ; death of, 386 

Herdocia, Jos6 Hilario, Nicaraguan 
clergyman, 163, 165 

Hermosillo, Mexico, captured by Raous- 
set-Boulbon, 27-8 

Hesse, Julius, filibustering activities of, 
368. 377 

Hilliard, Henry W., on Walker-Paulding 
affair. 338 

Hipp's Point, attack on, 181-2 ; cap- 
tured by Costa Ricans, 272 ; regained, 

Hitchcock, Ethan Allen. Brigadier-Gen- 
eral, U. S. A., seizes the Arrow, 35; 
removed as department commander, 

Hittell, John S., 20 n., 37 n., 59 n. 

Hoffman, Ogden, Federal judge, 53-4, 
58, 62 

Hodgson, Robert, in Mosquito territory, 

Hollins, George H., Commander, 
U. S. N., 76; bombards Greytown, 

Honduras, joins alliance against Walker, 
250; claims Bay Islands, 382; in- 
vaded by Walker, 384-92 

Hornsby, C. C, in Nicaragua, 86-7, 309 ; 
one of the "fifty-six," 88; captain in 
American Phalanx, 108. 123 n.. 160; 
brigadier-general. 228 ; at Greytown, 
278; on San Juan River, 282; at- 
tempts to rejoin Walker, 324, 328 

Huberich, C. H., 382 n. 

Humphries, J. G., aids filibusters, 322, 
368, 373, 377 

"Immortals, The Fifty-Six." 92 

Inge, S. W., Federal district attorney, 
53, 58, 64, 87, 135 n., 140, 149 

Intemperance, in filibuster army, 241-2, 

Irisarri, Antonio de, minister from 
Guatemala and San Salvador, 140; 
protests at Vijil's reception, 174 ; 
rejected as Nicaraguan minister, 
215-6; note to Cass, 318; thanks 
Cass for Walker's removal. 348; 
interest in Transit, 354-8 ; negotiates 
treaty, 356-7; on passport require- 
ments. 371-3 



Jamison, James C, 191 n., on Walker's 
aims, 228 

Jarnigan, John M., "Secretary of War" 
in Sonora, 40; indicted for violation 
of neutrality law, 62 

Jerez, Maximo, Nicaraguan leader, 86 ; 
minister of relations, 122 ; resigns, 
160 ; minister of war, 182 ; seeks 
presidency, 196 ; defection of, 197-8 ; 
incurs Legitimist jealousy, 252 ; takes 
field against Walker, 261-2, 267, 269 ; 
invites Americans to Nicaragua, 309 ; 
thanks Paulding for Walker's arrest, 
347 ; joint president with Martinez, 
353 ; relations with Vanderbilt, 355 ; 
minister to the United States, 366 

Johns, T. D., Sonoran fiUbuster, 311 

Jolly, Lieutenant, British naval officer, 77 

Jones, Alexander, one of the "fifty-six," 

Jones, William Carey, diplomatic mis- 
sion of, 356 

"Kanaka John," exploit of, 268 
Keasbey, L. M., 78 n., 227 n. 
Kennedy, C. H., Captain, U. S. N., 

rescues Kinney, 132 
Kerrigan, J. E., New York politician, 

joins filibusters, 144 
Kewen, Achilles, joins Walker, 88; 

lieutenant-colonel in Phalanx, 108 ; 

killed at Rivas, 109, 139 n. 
Kewen, E. J. C, 139 n., 156; sketch 

of, 156 n. ; recruiting by, 237 
Kinney, Henry L., 92-3 ; sketch of, 99 ; 

forms colonization company, 99-101 ; 

indicted, 102-4 ; sails for Greytown, 

105 ; a filibuster, 105-6 ; governor of 

Greytown, 107 ; relations with Walker, 

129-31 ; last ye^rs, 132 

Laine, Francisco Alejandro, Cuban exile, 
joins Walker, 206 ; death of, 254 

Lamar, L. Q. C, Congressman, on 
Walker-Paulding affair, 345 

Lamar, Mirabeau B., American minister 
to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, 358 ; 
demands explanations of Mora and 
Martinez, 363-5 

Lambertie, Charles de, 23 n., 29 n., 61 n. 

La Restauradora, Mexican mining com- 
pany, 25 

Larue, J. C, editorial associate of 
Walker's, 13 

La S6re, Emile, and Tehuantepec Canal 
scheme, 339 

Law, George, aids Walker, 231-2, 242, 

Lawless, John B., massacred at Granada, 

L6vy, D., 20 n., 22 n., 59 n. 

Legitimist party in Nicaragua, 191, 192, 

Livingston, Dr. J. W., 248 

Lockridge, S. A., recruiting by, 237, 261, 
272, 318; commands San Juan expe- 
dition, 278-83, 293; turns against 
Walker and Henningsen, 370 

London Times, on Walker's downfall, 

Lopez, Narcisso, Cuban filibuster, 88 

Lower California, filibusters in, 31-48 

McClure, Sir Robert, 246-7 

McCoun, W. H., Sonoran filibuster, 311 

McDonald, Charles J., agent of Morgan 
and Garrison, 116, 125, 133, 138, 330 

McDonald, Colonel, British superin- 
tendent of Belize, 98, 381 

McGrath, John T„ 241, 300 n. 

Mcintosh, James H., Commodore, 
U. S. N., 347, 371, 377 

McKeon, John, United States district 
attorney, 102-3 ; prosecution of fili- 
busters, 140-8, 167, 238-9 

Mackey, J. T., recruiting by, 319; 
arrest of, 324 

McKibbin, Fort, attacked by Mexicans, 

McKibbin, John, killed at Ensenada, 40 

McKinstry, J., Major, U. S. A,, receives 
Walker's surrender, 47-8 

Male, Joseph R., editor of El Nicara- 
guense, 142 

Mallory, Stephen R., Senator from 
Florida, on Walker-Paulding affair, 

Malmesbury, Earl of, 371, 377-8 

"Manifest destiny," meaning of, 2; 
devotees of, 224 

Mann, WiUiam B., Kinney's associate, 

Manning, Thomas, British vice-consul, 

Marcoleta, J. de, Nicaraguan minister, 
101 ; opposes Kinney, 102-3 ; anom- 
alous position of, 165-7 ; protests at 
Vijil's reception, 175 ; asks American 
aid against fihbusters, 350 

Marcy, William L., Secretary of State, 
100 ; refuses to recognize filibuster 
government, 126, 166-9, 215; and 
paper blockade, 180 ; views on 
neutrality, 350 

Martin, Helen, Walker's attachment for, 



Martin, Theo J., 131 n. 

Martinez, Tomas, 264 ; president of 
Nicaragua, 353 ; opposes Casa-Irisarri 
treaty, 358 ; duped by M. BeUy, 359 ; 
seeks European protectorate, 360; 
issues joint manifesto against United 
States, 361 ; apologizes therefor, 364 

Marysville, California, Walker removes 
to, 16 

Masaya, Nicaragua, fortified, 251 ; 
evacuated by filibusters, 252 ; battle 
of, 253 ; second battle of, 256-7 

Maury, Harry, commander of the Susan, 
374-6 ; arrested. 379 

Mayorga, Cleto, 156 

Mayorga, Mateo, execution of, 119-20 

Meagher, Thomas F., 174, 333 

Melendrez, Mexican outlaw, 41, 47 

Mervine, William, Commodore, U. S. N., 
294, 302-i 

Military scrip, 209 

Miller, Joaquin, 390 n. 

Mobile and Nicaragua Steamship Com- 
pany, 369 

Molina, Felipe, 139 

Molina, Luis, Costa Rican diplomat, 139, 
140, 149 ; protests at Vijil's reception, 
174-5 ; hostility to filibusters, 177-8 ; 
note to Cass, 318 

Montgomery, William, Congressman, on 
Walker-Paulding affair, 343-4 

Monttifar, L., 179 n., 213 n., 250 n., 
380 n. 

Mora, Jos6 Joaquin, Costa Rican general, 
181 ; on San Juan River, 273-7 ; at 
siege of Rivas, 296-7 

Mora, Juan Rafael, president of Costa 
Rica, 161, 162; makes war on fili- 
busters, 178-80 ; shoots prisoners, 
184, 188; invades Nicaragua, 185-6; 
military ability of, 189 ; renews war on 
filibusters, 255 ; encourages desertion 
by filibusters, 305 ; duped by M. 
Belly, 359 ; seeks European protec- 
torate, 360; issues joint manifesto 
against United States, 361 ; apolo- 
gizes therefor, 364-5 ; death of, 393 

Moraz&n, disciples of, 159, 160 

Morgan and Garrison. See Morgan, 

Morgan, Charles, 125 ; interested in 
Walker, 133-9, 182, 191, 239; sketch 
of, 134 n. ; withdraws aid to fili- 
busters, 239, 284, 293^ ; outwitted by 
Vanderbilt, 271-6 ; cares for stranded 
filibusters, 282 ; seeks to retain Transit 
concession, 354-6 

Morton, Gilbert, 245 

Mosquito Coast, boundaries, 73, 93 ; 
British protectorate withdrawn from, 
78 ; relations of, to Nicaraguan govern- 
ment, 129-30 

Mosquito Indians, 73 ; characteristics 
of, 93^ 

Mosquito Kingdom. See Mosquito 

Mosquito kings, 94-8 

Mufioz, Nicaraguan general, 108-9 

Napier, Lord, conversations with Bu- 
chanan, 351-2 ; announces British at- 
titude toward filibusters, 371 

Napoleon III., suspected abettor of 
French filibusters, 62 

Nashville, University of, course of study 
and discipline, 10-11 

Natzmer, Bruno von, 6; joins Phalanx, 
111; precipitates outbreak against 
filibusters, 197-8; returns to Nica- 
ragua, 234; at trial of Walker, 368; 
sails on Susan, 373, 376 

Neutrality laws, invoked against fili- 
busters, 53^, 62-5, 140-8, 167, 
238-9, 321-2, 368; against Mexican 
consul, 56-8 ; against French consul, 
58-9 ; interpretation of, 338-51 

New Granada, hostile to filibusters, 175 

Newton, E. H., Walker's surgeon, 388 

New York Atlas, quoted, 147 

Nicaise, A., 6 n., 49 n. 

Nicaragua, political conditions in, 82-4 ; 
geographical importance of, 71-4 ; 
filibuster invasions of, 93-116, 324-31 

Nicholson, A. O. P., associated with 
Kinney, 100 n. 

North, A. W., 46 n. 

Northern Light, Transit Company's 
steamer, 75 ; government detention 
of, 141-3 

Nor veil, Mary, mother of William 
Walker, 9-10 

Oaksmith, Appleton, Walker's minister 

to the United States, 214-5, 238 
Ogier, J. S. K., Federal judge, 63-4 
Oliphant, Laurence, 73 n. ; describes 

fiUbusters, 240-1, 285 n. 
Ometepe, Island of, 258-60 
Once de Abril, Costa Rican war brig, 

Ord, Pacificus, 135 n. 
Ostend Manifesto, 335, 352 
Ouseley, Sir William G., British diplomat, 

164 ; opinion of Buchanan, 351 ; in 

Nicaragua, 377-8 
Oxley, T. J., Sonoran filibuster, 311 



Pacific Mail and Steamship Company, 
78, 365, 367 

Padilla, Justo, envoy to Walker, 161 

Palmer, George W., Congressman, on 
Walker-Paulding affair, 343-4 

Palmer, J. C, aids Walker, 89 

Palmerston, Lord, 194 

Paredes Mariano, Guatemalan soldier, 
249, 264 ; death of, 267 

Parsons, Levi, controversy with Walker, 

Paulding, Hiram, Commodore, U. S. N., 
303, 325-6; arrests filibusters at 
Punta Arenas, 328-30; carries fili- 
busters to Key West, 332 ; criticised 
and commended, 334-50 

Pennsylvania, University of, Walker 
studies medicine at, 12 

Peralta, M. C, 277 n. 

Perez, Jeronimo, Nicaraguan historian, 
87, 164-5, 190, 203, 253 

Peru, hostile to filibusters, 175 

Pesquiera, Ignacio, 310, 312 

Phalanx, American, 108-16, 124 

Philadelphia, filibuster steamer, 378-9 

Pierce, Franklin, President of the United 
States, 50, 144 ; relations of, with 
Kinney, 100, 132 ; proclamation 
against filibusters, 140; criticism of, 
167-8, 171 ; recognizes Rivas-Walker 
government, 172-3 ; defeated for 
renomination, 174 

Pilcher, M., financial agent for filibuster 
government, 210, 368 

Pindray, Marquis Charles de, arrives in 
San Francisco, 20; leads expedition 
to Sonora, 21-2 

Pineda, Mateo, 202 

Pollard, E. A., journalist and traveller, 174 

Porter, David N., case of, cited as prece- 
dent, 349 

Pottle, Emory B., Congressman, on 
Walker-Paulding affair, 343 

Price, Rodman, aids filibusters, 174 

Pugh, George E., Senator from Ohio, on 
Walker-Paulding affair, 342 

Punta Arenas, Costa Rica, ex-President 
Mora at, 393 

Punta Arenas, Nicaragua, Transit Com- 
pany's property at, 74 ; Walker lands 
at, 325 

Quitman, John A., 6 ; on Walker-Paul- 
ding affair, 343 ; plans expedition to 
Cuba, 218 

Randolph, Edmund, lawyer in New 
Orleans, 13-14 ; Walker's attorney, 

36, 62 ; attorney for filibusters, 53 ; 
witness at trial of French consul, 59 ; 
supporter of Broderick, 67 ; sketch of, 
88 n, ; relations with Transit Com- 
pany, 133-9; grantee of Transit 
privileges, 149-50; Walker's adviser, 
192 ; quarrels with Goicouria, 223 ; 
remarks concerning filibusters, 392 

Rangers, The, 242, 243, 251-2, 301 

Raousset-Boulbon, Count Gaston Raoul 
de, arrives in San Francisco, 20; 
sketch of, 23-4 ; organizes Sonoran 
expedition, 25 ; in Guaymas, 25-6 ; 
in conflict with Mexicans, 27-31 ; 
new expedition, 54-5 ; thwarted by 
Federal officers, 55-9 ; sails for 
Guaymas, 59 ; attempts a revolution 
against Santa Anna, 60 ; executed, 61 

Recruiting, for Lower California, 38-9, 
52-3; for Nicaragua, 139-49, 236-41, 

Red Star Guards, 292 

Renwick, John Sebastian, 96 

Richardson, Mrs. Alice (Walker), 9, 317 

Ritchie, David, Congressman, on 
Walker-Paulding affair, 343 

Rivas, Nicaragua, first battle of, 109 ; 
second battle of, 187-90 ; siege of, 288, 

Rivas, Patricio, provisional president of 
Nicaragua, 130, 150, 160; declares 
war on Costa Rica, 180 ; seeks friend- 
ship of other States, 182 ; candidate 
for presidency, 196, 202 ; defection of, 
towards Walker, 198-201; aided by 
Central American allies, 249 ; banished 
from Nicaragua, 353 

Robert Charles Frederick, Mosquito 
king, 95-7 

Rogers, William K., 206; "confiscator- 
general," 243; at Ometepe, 259; at 
Greytown, 273-4, 278; dangerous 
voyage of, 285 ; recruiting by, 318 

Rossiter, Father, 254 

Ruatan, Island of, British claims to, 
381-2 ; Walker invited to, 382-3 

Rudler, A. F., filibuster officer, 373, 383, 

Rynders, Isaiah, 174, 238 ; United States 
marshal, 333-4 

Sacramento, California, Democratic con- 
vention at, 67-8 

Salazar, Mariano, seeks presidency of 
Nicaragua, 196, 202; enmity to 
Walker, 245 ; execution of, 248 

Salmon, Norvell, British naval officer, 
386; demands Walker's surrender, 



387-8; captures filibusters, 38&-90; 
criticism of, 392 

San Carlos, Fort, 80, 119; captured by 
Costa Ricans, 274 

Sanders, Edward J., filibuster ofiicer, 
288, 290 

Sanford, Thaddeus, collector of port at 
Mobile, 323. 372-3 

San Francisco, French element in, 19-20 ; 
trial of filibusters at, 52-65 ; recruit- 
ing at, 139-40, 149 

San Jorge, Nicaragua, Walker's attacks 
on, 288-9 ; battle of, 290 

San Juan del Norte. See Greytown 

San Juan del Sur, 79, 80 

San Salvador, 159 ; joins Central Ameri- 
can alliance, 250 

Santa Anna, Antonio Lopez de, 29 ; 
encourages French colonization of 
Mexico, 55 

Santamaria, Juan, 188 n. 

Santa Rosa, skirmish at, 183-4 

San Tomas, Lower California, filibus- 
ters at, 44 

San Vicente, Lower California, filibusters 
at, 44-5 

Saunders, Romulus M., 126 

Schlessinger, Louis, 162 ; envoy to Costa 
Rica, 163-79; defeated at Santa 
Rosa, 183 ; agent of Stebbins and 
White Company, 358 

Scott, Joseph N., agent of Transit Com- 
pany, 75, 284 

Scott, William W., arrested for filibuster- 
ing, 379 

Selva, Buenaventura, minister of war, 
124 ; resigns, 160 

Servile party, 180, 182 

Seward, William H., defends Com- 
modore Paulding, 344-5 

Shepherd, Peter, grantee of Mosquito 
territory, 96 

Shepherd, Samuel, grantee of Mosquito 
territory, 96, 99 

Shepherd, Samuel, Jr., member of Grey- 
town council, 107 

Sigondis, Lepine de, plans colonization 
of Sonora, 23 

Sioussat, St. George L., 168 n. 

Slatter, S. F., financial agent for Walker's 
government, 210, 368; Walker's 
bondsman, 321 

Slavery, in Nicaragua, 211-13, 227-9 

Slidell, John, Senator from Louisiana, 
denounces Walker, 346-7 

Snow, Howard A., "Secretary of the 
Navy," in Sonora, 40; indicted, 62 

Sonora, Mexican plans to colonize, 21, 

25-6, 29, 55 ; Indian depredations in, 
33-4; French filibusters in, 21-30, 
59-61 ; proclaimed a republic by 
Walker, 42; Crabb's expedition to, 

Sonoyta, Mexico, Crabb at, 312-3 

"Sons of Temperance," 242 

Sould, Pierre, 170, 209 ; influence upon 
Walker's policy, 210-11, 226; counsel 
for Walker, 321, 368 

Southern Emigration Society, 368-9, 

Spain, hostile to filibusters, 175, 181, 250 

Spencer, Sylvanus H., 270, 278, 279; 
captures filibuster steamboats, 271-5 ; 
character of, 276-7 

Squier, Ephraim G., 73 n., 81 n., 99 

Star of the West, Transit Company's 
steamer, searched for filibusters, 144 

Stebbins and White Company, 354, 357 ; 
and Cass-Irisarri treaty, 358 ; con- 
cession revoked, 365 ; debarred from 
use of Transit, 366-7 

Stebbins, H. G., 354 

Stephens, Alexander, 334 n., on Walker- 
Paulding affair, 342 

Stewart, William F., 292 n. 

Stout, Peter F., 304 n. 

Sutter, W. A., filibuster envoy to Costa 
Rica, 162-3 

Swift, Captain, deserts Kinney, 129 

Swingle, Colonel, manufactures cannon 
balls, 288, 291; defends Rivas, 290; 
returns to Nicaragua, 324 

Tabor, John, editor of El Nicaraguense, 
254, 324, 330 

Tariff, Nicaraguan, 208 

Tarleton, Captain, British naval oflBcer, 
184 n. 

Taylor, Miles, Congressman, on Walker- 
Paulding affair, 343 

Tehuantepec Canal scheme, 339 

Thomas, Carlos, treasurer-general of 
filibuster regime, 130 

Thomas, Jane H., impressions of Walker 
as a boy, 9 

Thompson, John, Congressman, on 
Walker-Paulding affair, 343-4 

Thrall, H. S., 99 n., 132 n. 

Tinkelpaugh, E. L., steamship captain, 
143, 153 

Titus, H. T., filibuster officer, 237, 240, 
280-1, 295-6 

Toombs. Robert, defends Walker, 342 

Toothey, Philip E., newspaper corre- 
spondent, 184 n, 

Toucey, Isaac, Secretary of the Navy, 



319 ; efforts to prevent filibustering, 

320, 350-1, 372 
Travis, I. B., 78 n., 93 n. 
Truxillo, Honduras, captured by Walker, 

384-5; declared a free port, 386; 

evacuated, 388; Walker imprisoned 

and executed at, 389-91 

Valle, Jos6 Maria, friend of the filibus- 
ters, 113, 122 

Vanderbilt, Cornelius, plans Nicaraguan 
canal, 78-9 ; president of Transit 
Company, 135 ; aids Walker, 151 ; 
Walker's treatment of, 152-3 ; law- 
suits, 155-6 ; seeks government aid 
against filibusters, 152, 157 ; plans 
Walker's destruction, 270-6 ; ma- 
chinations in Nicaragua, 354-7, 

Vesta, filibuster brig, 90, 91, 108, 110, 

Vidaurri, D. Santiago, Mexican revolu- 
tionist, 370 

Vijil, Augustin, curate of Granada, 118, 
163 ; minister to the United States, 
172, 197 ; experiences in the United 
States, 174-6 ; returns to Nicaragua, 
214 ; leaves Granada, 254 ; remorse of, 

Virgin Bay, battle of, 114-5; massacre 
of Americans at, 186 

Walker, James, brother of William, 9,191 

Walker, James, father of William, 9, 10 

Walker, L. Norvell, brother of William, 

9; disciplined, 185; at Rivas, 188; 

recruiting by, 237 ; at Greytown, 278 ; 

on San Juan River, 282 

Walker, Patrick, guardian of Mosquito 

king, 98 
Walker, William, early life, 9-11 ; gradu- 
ates from University of Nashville, 12 ; 
studies medicine, 12 ; practises law in 
New Orleans, 13 ; editor of New 
Orleans Crescent, 13 ; love affair, 14 ; 
migrates to California, 15 ; imprisoned 
for contempt of court, 15-16 ; practises 
law in Marysville, 16-17 ; visits 
Guaymas, 31-3; designs on Sonora, 
34 ; sails for Sonora, 36 ; proclaims 
Lower California a republic, 37 ; 
fights with Mexicans, 38-44 ; pro- 
claims Sonora a republic, 42; "con- 
vention" at San Vicente, 44-5; 
march to Colorado River and back, 
46-7 ; driven from Lower California, 
47-8 ; slavery extension not his main 
purpose, 49-51 ; at trial of French 

consul, 58; tried for violating neu- 
trality law, 62-5; in California poli- 
tics, 67 ; called an abolitionist, 68 ; 
opposes radical slavery men, 69-70; 
invited to Nicaragua, 85-6 ; organizes 
expedition, 87-91 ; duels, 90 ; sails 
from San Francisco, 92 ; a rival of 
Kinney, 106-7 ; arrival in Nicaragua, 
108 ; defeated at Rivas, 109 ; accuses 
native allies of bad faith, 110 ; defeats 
Guardiola, 112-5 ; captures Granada, 
117; offered presidency, 118; executes 
Mayorga, 119; makes peace with 
Legitimists, 120-2 ; executes Corral, 
123 ; aided by Transit Company, 125 ; 
establishes newspaper, 127-9 ; rela- 
tions with Kinney, 129-32 ; relations 
with American financiers, 133-58 ; 
seeks friendship of other Central 
American States, 159-63, 179; wins 
good will of native clergy, 163-5; 
diplomatic relations with the United 
States, 166-73 ; declares war on 
Servile governments, 180 ; at war with 
Costa Rica, 181-9; cares for sick 
Costa Rican soldiers, 190; visits 
Leon, 197 ; breach with Rivas, 198- 
200; elected president of Nicaragua, 
201-3 ; inauguration, 204-6 ; land 
poUcy, 207-8 ; tariff regulations, 208 ; 
decree concerning labour contracts, 
210; repeals laws against slavery, 
211-2; not recognized as president 
by the United States, 214-7; seeks 
diplomatic relations with Great Brit- 
ain, 217, 219-22; designs on Cuba, 
218, 224-6 ; repudiates annexation to 
United States, 224; slavery policy, 
227-9 ; aided by George Law, 231-2 ; 
characteristics as a commander, 45-6, 
232-6; establishes a "navy," 245; 
executes Salazar, 248 ; at war with 
Central American coalition, 250-2 ; 
at first and second battles of Masaya, 
253-4, 256-7; destroys Granada, 
258-61, 264-9; loses control of San 
Juan River and Lake Nicaragua, 
273-5 ; concentrates forces at Rivas, 
286; defeated at San Jorge, 290; 
besieged in Rivas, 291-7; surrenders 
to Commander Davis, U. S. N., 
298-302; arrives in New Orleans. 
316 ; visits President Buchanan, 317 ; 
in New York, 317 ; prepares for se- 
cond expedition, 318-22; sails for 
Nicaragua, 324; lands at Punta 
Arenas, 325 ; arrested by Commodore 
Paulding, 328-31 ; returns to United 



States on parole, 331, 333 ; released 
from parole, 334 ; denounced by 
Buchanan, 336 ; welcomed in Southern 
cities, 338-9; makes "disclosures" 
concerning Buchanan administration, 
339-41 ; criticised and defended in 
Congress, 341-7; prosecuted in New 
Orleans, 368-9 ; plans third expedi- 
tion, 369, 372-3, 378-9 ; writes history 
of his career, 380-1 ; joins Catholic 
Church, 381 ; invited to Ruatan, 
382-3 ; lands in Honduras and seizes 
fortress at Truxillo, 384-6 ; ordered to 
leave Honduras by Captain Salmon, 
387-8 ; escape and capture of, 388-9 ; 
surrendered to Hondurans by Salmon, 
389 ; protests at Salmon's act, 390 ; 
executed, 391 ; contemporary com- 
ment on his death, 394-6 ; final esti- 
mate of his work and character, 396-7 

Wallerstein, E,, Costa Rican consul- 
general, 192, 194 

War in Nicaragua, The, Walker's history 
of his career, 380-1 

Warren, Edward A., Congressman, on 
Walker-Paulding affair, 342 

Warren, T. Robertson, on Walker's ap- 
pearance, 32-4 ; on Mexican misgov- 
emment, 34 

Washington Union, administration 
paper, 65 ; criticises General Wool, 66 

Waters, John P., filibuster officer, 251-2, 
267-8, 290, 297-8, 318 

Watkins, Henry P., Walker's law part- 
ner, 16-7; visits Guaymas, 31, 34; 
reinforces Walker at Ensenada, 39, 
41 ; convicted of violation of neu- 
trality law, 53—4 ; refuses to testify at 
trial of French consul, 58 ; joins 
Crabb's expedition, 311 

Webster, Fletcher, associated with Kin- 
ney, 101, 105 

Webster, Sidney, 100, 168 

Webster, W. R. C, 270; machinations 
for Transit concession, 354-5 

Weller, John B., Walker's letter to, 184 

Wells, WiUiam V., 39 n., 85 n. ; chron- 

icler of Walker's expedition, 6 ; visits 

Central America, 84 
West, Captain Charles, precedes Walker 

to Ruatan, 383 
Wheat, R. C, aids Walker, 239, 278, 280, 

282, 333 
Wheeler, D. H., American missionary, 

Wheeler, John H., minister to Nicaragua, 

15 n. ; acts as mediator, 118-9; 

recognizes Rivas government, 126 ; 

sketch of, 126 n, ; Rivas suspyends 

relations with, 169; at Walker's 

inaugural, 204 ; recognizes Walker as 

president, 213^; recalled, 216-7, 

230; saves Dr. Livingston, 248; 

house fired upon, 254 
White, Joseph L., associated with 

Vanderbilt, 79 ; attorney for Transit 

Company, 101 ; opposes Kinney, 

102-3; aids Walker, 141, 143, 145-6; 

intrigues for Transit concession, 

Wilson, W, F., editorial associate of 

Walker, 13 
Winslow, Warren, Congressman, on 

Walker-Paulding affair, 345 
Wolfe, Nathaniel J., 79 
Wood, R. N., Sonoran filibuster, 311 
Wool, John E., Major-General, U. S. A., 

39, 50 ; assigned to Department of the 

Pacific, 52 ; prosecutes filibusters, 

62-5, 58, 62-5; criticisms of, 65-6; 

attitude toward Walker, 87-8 
Wyke, Charles Lennox, British diplomat, 


Xatruch, Pedro, Honduran general, 122 

Yancey, William L., 338 
Yafiez, commander of Guaymas garri- 
son, 60 

Zavala, Jos6 Victor, Guatemalan soldier, 

253, 255, 267, 299 
Zollicoffer, Felix K., Congressman, on 

Walker-Paulding affair, 343 


Printed in the United btstes of America. 

NOV 1 4 1988